Robin Lindsay, Founding Director of GO FAR (Go Out For A Run), started a small running club which has now blossomed into a 501(c)3 nonprofit that fights against the childhood obesity epidemic. They now have a way for teachers/coaches across the nation to sign up to become a certified GO FAR coach and also register their students for the GO FAR program through ZapEvent. Read here to discover how Robin got her start, what GO FAR is up to and what makes club so successful.
Robin Lindsay worked as a Physician’s Assistant at a local University and was appalled at the poor appearance of the students. She noticed that many of them, as early as 19 and 20, were showing signs of developing chronic diseases: diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic joint pain. Her reaction? Start a running club on campus.“I soon realized that in order to change behaviors it was imperative that we start with younger kids. And with the help of a graduate student we began putting together GO FAR – a 10 week curriculum that teaches children about fun physical activity, healthy eating and the importance of good character. The children set goals and learn how to safely train for a 5K event. And so GO FAR was born,” said Lindsay.
The program began with 16 children in one school. It now reaches over 3,000 children in 40 schools, churches and after-school clubs.
GO FAR is holding another event on November 6. Lindsay expects over 1,500 participants. She is working on safety for the kids by organizing volunteers to help at the start and finish, and is staggering the start time for the kids.“Most of these kids have never run a road race before, so they show up scared and apprehensive and excited! I think most of runners forget what it was like to show up to their first race,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay explains how students gain self-confidence because of their involvement in GO FAR. The students she has worked with include students with varying abilities, from students with special needs and autism to students with extreme ADD. Each child who crosses the finish line of the 5K receives a medal.
“If you can put one foot in front of the other then you can GO FAR,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay loves the family support that GO FAR encourages. Instead of standing on the sideline, parents participate too. Sometimes there are three generations running together at the event. She also loves the confidence that GO FAR builds in children.
“Some kids wear their medals to school for a week after the race,” said Lindsay. “One mom told me her child ‘sleeps with her medal on.’ How cool is that!”
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