Kids run marathon against child obesity

While one man runs a brutal marathon in the freeze of the North Pole, a group of local kids will match his stride – albeit in kinder conditions.

Their battle is not against the elements, but against child obesity.

The kids of the Harbourside-Esquimalt Boys and Girls Club will run the equivalent of a marathon in 10 weeks, called the On Top of the World for Kids campaign.

Meanwhile, Glenn Harkness, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton, Ont., will run the treacherous North Pole Marathon as a fundraiser for the campaign.

Studies warn Canadian children are often inactive, unhealthy and increasingly obese. The 30 or so kids of the Harbourside-Esquimalt club will be keeping fit in a stand against this trend.

They, along with Harkness, will collect pledges and financial commitments from businesses and families, leading up to the 10-week marathon, with all money going back into Victoria-area after-school programs.

Patti Sullivan, executive director of the Harbourside-Esquimalt club, said the kids are keen to help themselves and their community.

“(The) challenge gives the kids a chance to show our community that they are rock star runners and to participate in something bigger than themselves – a movement to get Victoria’s kids healthy and active again,” she said.