C.J. and Emery know the history of the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing and why they are running in the marathon. They go each year to the memorial on April 19 to remember the bombing anniversary.
That isn't the case with a number of the young runners.
“We are educating them why we run,” Burleson said. “This generation wasn't born.
“We talk to them about making good choices. We tell them that (bomber Timothy) McVeigh did not make a good choice. We try to keep it age appropriate.”
This year for the first time a poster contest has been added to the Kids Marathon activities. Contestants were asked to decorate a poster explaining “Why do you run?”
The winning poster will be used as the Kids Marathon poster and be given to each of the 2,500 runners.
Schools across the state encourage their students to run on a daily basis. The Kids Marathon is a bonus.
Students at Edmond's Russell Dougherty run during recess in what they call the mileage club. Teacher Joanna Imes clips a colored piece of paper each time the students make a lap around the play ground.
Some of Imes' students will run in the Kids Marathon and others have advanced on to the 5k race.
“It is all voluntary,” Imes said. “It is an option to put them in a healthy place.”
Jeffery Garrison, a fifth grader, wants to run the 5k race and the Kids Marathon.
“I'm involved because I will get in shape and have fun,” said Garrison, who has diabetes. “I want to run fast and get into shape.”
His twin sister, Emily, will be running to have fun, but she also has had surgeries on her foot.
“It will give me strength,” Emily Garrison said. “It is also fun.”
Two schools have an opportunity to each win a $500 prize for the school with the most participants and the school with the highest percentage based on enrollment in The Oklahoman Kids Marathon Fitness Challenge. A traveling trophy will be presented to each of the winning schools at pep rallies in May.
Each Kids Marathon runner will receive a medal at the finish line.
“This year there are some good changes — changes for the better,” said Burleson, who admits she gets emotional when she stops on race day and remembers where she was on April 19, 1995.
“It is still about honoring all the lives.”
This year there are some good changes — changes for the better. It is still about honoring all the lives.”
Director of the Kids Marathon