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Community Running Festival Gets Kids Moving, Keeps Them Moving

Congratulations to the City of Takoma Park, Maryland, for another successful 5K Challenge! Last Sunday, they held their third annual running of this exciting event, and it drew more than 700 runners of all ages.

The great thing about Takoma Park's family-friendly race day is that it benefits the city's Safe Routes to School program. Safe Routes programs across America help schoolkids learn to bike and walk to school safely.


Takoma Park is a densely populated community with four nearby elementary schools. Many of the city's children can walk or bike to school. "That's why," says Takoma Park Safe Routes to School Coordinator Lucy Neher, "raising money for this program is so important. We love it that our kids can walk to school, but we need them to get there safely."

The running festivities were supported by many volunteers and Takoma Park's public works, housing and community development, recreation, and police departments. As Lucy Neher said, "It's nice to have that kind of top-to-bottom support from the mayor's office down to all the residents who came out on race day."



Through the day's success, Takoma Park's Safe Routes program can now give each of the school PTAs over $4,000 to be used for health, pedestrian and bike safety programming.

So, with its TKPK5K Challenge, Takoma Park has itself an event that gets kids moving in order to raise money for a program that keeps kids moving. That's a recipe for a fun and healthy community.

And the race results prove it, with 5K finishers ranging in age from 6 to 78 and an exciting quarter-mile race for even younger runners--some younger than 2. In the middle was a one-mile run, also for all ages, and some adventurous school-age runners completed the 5K and the mile.

Piney Branch Elementary School, located appropriately at the starting line, takes its Safe Routes program seriously. The school PTA sponsors a Running Club that boasted 12 finishers in the 5K. Several faculty members also participated, including Principal Bertram Generlette. The other schools benefiting from the TKPK5K are Takoma Park Elementary, East Silver Spring Elementary, and Rolling Terrace Elementary.

Congratulations to race organizer Lucy Neher, her terrific crew of volunteers, and the community of Takoma Park. Together, you have demonstrated for the third year in a row that "increasing physical activity" is really just code for "let's have some fun."