Family run in Tulsa combines fun, fitness
BY KYLE WILKES
Friday, September 21, 2012
Since 1980, obesity in children and adolescents has almost tripled.
More than 30 percent of Oklahoma
children are either overweight or
These young people are more
likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular
disease, such as high
cholesterol or high blood pressure;
in a population-based sample of 5-
to 17-year-olds, 70 percent of obese
youth had at least one risk factor for
And the story doesn’t end there.
Children and adolescents who are
obese are likely to be obese as adults,
making them more at risk for adult
health problems such as heart disease,
type 2 diabetes, stroke, several
types of cancer and osteoarthritis.
Oklahoma is the sixth-worst state
for obesity rates and 49th in overall
health. This is unacceptable. The
good news is healthy eating and
physical activity can lower the risk
of becoming obese and developing
That’s where the YMCA of Greater
Tulsa can make a big impact. At
the YMCA, we are dedicated to
healthy living, youth development
and social responsibility. Building
healthy and confident families and
children tops our list of priorities.
For those who want to make a
change in their lives, the question is
often, “How do I begin?” We’ll tell
Meet Nacho. Nacho had never run
before, but he, his mom and three
sisters all decided to train together
for their first 5K — as a family. They
started the Y’s Couch to 5K program
and after six months they completed
the Williams Route 66 5K.
At the end of the run, Nacho received
a medal. The joy it brought
to him was all over his face. What
Nacho’s friends and family didn’t
know? They had no idea what it
would do for Nacho’s self-esteem;
months later, Nacho still wears his
medal to school and tells anyone
who will listen about his run.
You can set a goal, too. This year’s
Williams Route 66 Marathon is set
for Nov. 17-18. The family of races
includes everything from a one-mile
fun run to a full 26.2-mile marathon
and the weekend of events offers
something for all ages and skill levels.
The post-race parties are a celebration
of all walkers’ and runners’
accomplishments and offer a lot of
fun to all involved. Additionally, children
16 and under completing the
fun run or 5K event at the Williams
Route 66 Marathon receive a special
kids’ finisher medal to celebrate
their achievement. Just like Nacho.
This year, we are again offering a
kids’ training program — available
to the public at minimal cost — that
prepares Tulsa’s youngest runners
and walkers for the 5K race at the
Williams Route 66 Marathon. This
training program provides scheduled
runs and adapts to all fitness levels.
More than 275 children completed
a Williams Route 66 Marathon
event in 2011 thanks to this
program. We are thrilled to bring it
back for 2012.
Fall is just around the corner.
Let’s use this new season to set attainable
goals for ourselves and our
children, to improve our lives and
the health of the next generation.
Kyle Wilkes is the district executive director
of the Thornton Family YMCA and camping
services as well as the children’s program
director for Tulsa Route 66 Marathon Inc.
Kyle Wilkes: Building healthy and confident families and children tops our list of priorities.