Summer is a time for kids to be outside running around, and a kids fun run series in Vermilion County has them doing just that.
The Vermilion County Fun Run Kids Summer Series will hold its fourth races of the summer this evening, at 6 p.m. at Winter Park in Danville. The running series has had 530 kids participate so far this summer — about 100 more than at this point last year, said Pat Bogen, director of the fun runs.
“The kids have fun and it’s a no-pressure atmosphere. We’re just getting kids out there and getting them active and away from the Xboxes and PlayStations for a little bit,” he said.
Bogen has three children, ages 3, 7 and 9, who participate.
The kids running series started last year, when Bogen and several other parents and runners got together and organized the running series to replace the longtime kids’ summer fun runs that Kennekuk Road Runners was discontinuing. Almost 600 children participated in at least one race last summer.
The runs are held every Monday evening at 6 p.m. at the Danville Soccer Complex at Winter Park. More than 300 kids per week have been participating, Bogen said. The summer running series is an eight-week program, through June and July, but there are no races on July 4.
The races are free and open to everyone. Children who want to run can show up at any run throughout the season.
The runs include 25-yard and 50-yard dashes for the youngest kids, ages 4 and under; a quarter-mile run for kids up to age 6; a half-mile run for kids up to age 8; and 1-mile and 2-mile runs for children and young people up to age 18.
The age groups are just guidelines, Bogen said.
“We do have some younger kids who come out, they’re 6 years old and they’re running the mile,” he said. And there are some children with disabilities who do a shorter race than their age would indicate, he said.
There are popsicles after each run, and children who make five out of the seven runs get a t-shirt. The running series has a number of local sponsors, and spring and fall 5Ks also raise money for the series.
For more information, go to www.vermilioncountyfunrun.org.