Kids Marathon Final Mile on tap Saturday

McALLEN — Organizers of the McAllen Kids Marathon on Thursday unveiled the event medal and T-shirts to be given to participants of the final mile Saturday morning.

The announcement came at a news conference at Ben Milam Elementary, where city of McAllen and McAllen ISD officials were greeted in the library by Mustang cheerleaders and orange-clad students who are part of the running club.

The final mile is slated for 9 a.m. Saturday at the McAllen Convention Center.

“We have a great partnership with the city of McAllen, and this is just another example of us coming together to do something special for the community around wellness,” McAllen ISD Superintendent Dr. J.A. Gonzalez said of the event, which is also in partnership with The Monitor. “We’re just here to kick it off, to let the community know to make sure to come out on Saturday.”

Gonzalez said that it is important that community members understand and participate in wellness programs to bolster a culture of fitness in a region that suffers from obesity.

“What makes this special is that all of our kids are taking part in it over months,” Gonzalez said. “This is the last mile of the marathon. Our coaches and our teachers have been really emphasizing this throughout the last couple of months, and this is the culmination of that. That’s what makes it so cool.”

The McAllen Kids Marathon kicked off on Sept. 28, 2019, when students ran their first mile of the 26.2 miles. Since then, students in grades pre-kinder through eighth grade have been logging in miles with the support of their teachers and coaches.

The marathon was originally conceived in 2014 by the late McAllen City Commissioner Scott Crane. His legacy lives on with the Kids Marathon and the Scott Crane Memorial Run, which is scheduled for Sunday at the McAllen Convention Center.

McAllen ISD Trustee Debbie Crane-Aliseda, who is the sister of Scott Crane, said that as many as 5,000 kids have shown up to the marathons in the past.

“The whole goal was to get people out on the city sidewalks and running paths,” Crane-Aliseda said. “That’s what Scott was so passionate about. He was a runner. He ran the marathon.”

Crane-Aliseda said that it is inspiring to see the runners participate in the marathons, particularly runners who started participating in the Kids Marathon five years ago during the event’s conception.

For more information about the McAllen Kids Marathon and the Scott Crane Memorial Run, visit their respective Facebook pages.

fjimenez@themonitor.com