WE RUN THIS CITY
YOUTH MARATHON PROGRAM
About the Program
The We Run This City Youth Marathon Program (WRTC) is a collaboration between the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and Case Western Reserve University Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods.
The 12 to 22 week program strives to teach young people to set and achieve goals by preparing them to run in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.
But crossing the finish line is just the beginning! Students leave the program with greater self-confidence and enhanced youth resiliency skills.
WRTC is a 12 to 22 week program where individual teams are formed at schools and are led by teachers or volunteer coaches with assistance from YMCA coaches. The teachers/ coaches are responsible for scheduling practices, submitting extensive paperwork and ensuring that their teams attend pre-race events (kickoff, conditioning clinic and practice races). WRTC offers the students a training schedule (which includes a nutrition component) that allows them to cover the distances necessary to be prepared to run in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. A WRTC student does not have to be an athlete to participate in this program. Our goal for each student is completion rather than competition.
Forming a Team
Individual teams are formed within Cleveland Metropolitan School District and are led by teachers, volunteer coaches, YMCA coaches and peer mentors.
The teachers/coaches are responsible for scheduling practices, submitting the necessary paperwork, tack the student's conditioning, and ensuring all students attend required pre-race events.
A We Run This City student does not have to be an athlete to become a participant in this program. Our goal for each student is completion rather than competition.
History and Mission
The mission of We Run This City Youth Marathon Program is to encourage healthy habits and exercise in Cleveland’s young people. With our running program, we strive to teach young people to set and achieve goals, increasing their self-confidence as well as their fitness and endurance. Crossing the finish line is just the beginning!
We Run This City Youth Marathon Program was launched in 2006 with 81, 6th through 8th grade runners from seven Cleveland Metropolitan School District schools. The program nearly doubled in 2007 to 192 participants, including participation of one high school. Other changes to the program in 2007 included the addition of a team of 10K runners.
In 2008 WRTC expanded training options to add the half marathon and a change in venue for race day events. Previously the students were housed at the downtown YMCA before the race began, where they picked up their t-shirts, signed poster-sized thank you cards, posed for group pictures and listened to motivational speakers. Due to the increase in numbers, the staging area was moved to CSU Woodling Gymnasium (a move made possible by a generous donation from the Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Department at CSU).
During the 2015-16 program year there were 710 students recruited and 524 students from 37 schools that crossed the finish line of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 15, 2016. Of the 524 that crossed the finish line, 12 completed the half marathon, 225 ran the 10k and 287 completed the 1.2 mile run.
Volunteers are the heart of We Run This City's mission. They are involved in every aspect of the program from initial recruitment to screenings to trainings and race-day coordination.
Some of the many volunteer opportunities available include the following:
Students do not pay to participate in the program. The shoes, T-shirts, medals and race fees are provided for free to every participant. Program staff undertake continued fundraising efforts to fully support the students.Thanks to the support of the program's corporate and private philanthropic communities who recognize the value, We Run This City Youth Marathon Program has continued to serve Cleveland for 12 years.
With generous contributions from the Mt. Sinai Foundation, St. Luke’s Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser, REACH, Giant Eagle Foundation, Dairymens, and the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, WRTC is able to provide programming for its Cleveland students.
In addition to monetary contributions, WRTC is supported by many local organizations that provide in-kind donations to the program.
If you are interested in sponsoring a school or providing funds or in kind donations to help this program continue to grow, expand and provide a high quality experience for participating youth, please contact Carla Turner.