Staso gets kids fitter

Kids at the Caymam Marathon are likely to perform better than ever thanks to a fitness guru who has been helping them prepare.

The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon and Kids Fun Run is closing in on 2 December and organisers are excited about a new element that is sure to get the youngsters out on race day and more motivated about exercise in general.

The event has partnered with solo distance runner Paul Staso (www.pacetrek.com) who recently moved to the island to join local fitness company Fitline as a personal trainer to runners.

Staso is keen to help Cayman’s kids get more active and interested in a healthier lifestyle. Leading up to the race, he will be going to some of the primary schools around the island to inspire kids, educate them about the importance of being fit and healthy and encourage them to start preparing for the Kids Fun Run.

“What I hope to accomplish by going into the schools is to open kids’ eyes to all that is possible if you take care of your body and make health and fitness a priority,” says Staso.

“I’ll be sharing briefly about my start in running aged 10 and what I’ve been able to accomplish since then, but more importantly I’m going to share with students some amazing things kids have done when they decided to step away from the computer games, televisions and X-boxes and actually step out onto this big blue marble spinning beneath our feet and see what they’re capable of.

“Every child has a strength, an ability, and it’s my desire to help them identify it and develop it.”

Staso has much experience with motivating kids to get active. He has run across countries and huge swathes of land, averaging 30 miles per day, bringing with him thousands of school children worldwide as they virtually run and walk his course while learning about health, fitness, goal setting and other places beyond their school fields.

Some of his achievements include running 3,260 miles solo coast-to-coast across the entire US in 2006, running 500 miles solo through Alaska in 2009, 500 miles solo across Germany in 2010 and running 506 miles solo across the Mojave Desert in 2011, making him the first person to run alone from the Grand Canyon to Death Valley. He does all of this while pushing an 80-pound specialised ‘stroller’ of gear, food, water and electronics.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with Paul to promote not only the Kids Fun Run but overall health and fitness in our children,” said race director Rhonda Kelly of Kelly Holding.

“Obesity in our kids, particularly at a primary school level, is a growing concern here in Cayman, and many organisations, including the Government, are offering great programmes and solutions.

“I think Paul’s approach to getting kids moving is one that will interest them and keep them active long after the Kids Fun Run has finished and I hope that both parents and the schools will partner with us and support not only our event but all of the efforts that are being made by everyone to get our kids healthier.”

“Many kids in Cayman need to focus more on their health and fitness,” adds Staso. “The Caymanian Compass reported last month that of the 533 children who entered primary school for the first time last year, nearly 30 per cent were overweight or obese.

“The school entry screenings showed that 13.7 per cent of the children between three and six years old were obese and 15.9 per cent were overweight. Also, last year, among children ages 10 to 13, 35.4 per cent were classified as overweight or obese.

“Those statistics motivate me to get in front of kids and use my background and experience to help in turning the tide on this weighty issue.”

Staso’s strategy involves getting the children to keep a log of their activity leading up to the Kids Fun Run, the goal of which is to have completed a full marathon (26.2 miles) at the end of the estimated 0.7 mile distance of the Kids Fun Run on 2 December.

The first 25.5 miles of the marathon can be achieved through running, swimming, cycling and hiking and children should have their parents or another adult sign their log verifying that they have completed each mile.

After crossing the finish line, successful participants will have officially completed a marathon. Those children who bring their completed log when they pick up their race packet the day before the race will be entered for the chance to win random prizes that Milo will be drawing on race day.

The Kids Fun Run is sponsored once again this year by MILO Energy Drink, and is open to primary school children ages 5 to 11 years old. Registration for up to 500 students is free and students are encouraged to register online at www.CaymanIslandsMarathon.com

The race begins at 10.30am from the new Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue and kids will run just over a half a mile to the finish line at Breezes by the Bay Restaurant where they will receive medals and be able to sample tasty MILO products. MILO plans to promote its ready-to-drink, cold products and will also provide T-shirts and bags for the kids.

“We are so pleased to have MILO on board with us again for the Kids Fun Run,” says Kelly. “Their participation significantly enhances both the event and the kids’ race experience, and we want to thank MILO distributor Jacques Scott for their continued support of this great activity for our children.”

Kelly added that Blake from X107 will be out once again with the X van playing music at the start line to get the kids energised and ready to run and Tracie Smith-Beyak from Body Now 4 Mums and Kids will also be doing a short warm up session with the kids before they take off for the finish line.

“We added these two elements to the race last year and they worked really well,” says Kelly. “The goal was to create a party atmosphere for the kids and really emphasise the fun aspect of the event so that kids could see that running and other physical activities can be enjoyable. Adding Paul’s challenge to the mix is going to heighten the anticipation even more.”

Kelly encourages parents to sign their kids up for the Kids Fun Run and help them to complete their 25.5 mile training log, sending a message that a healthy lifestyle is important from a young age.

“It is never too early to get our children involved in activities that will promote a lifestyle of fitness and exercise. The fact is that our kids today lead a very sedentary lifestyle and it is important that we get them moving.

“The Kids Fun Run is an easy, non-competitive race. This is also a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together because parents can run their event which starts 5.5 hours earlier, and then support their children in their race.”

Registration for the 2012 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay and Kids Fun Run is open online at www.CaymanIslandsMarathon.com. Walk-in registration can also be done at the Kelly 
Holding office.

The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is sponsored by Department of Tourism; Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture; Gatorade; Flowers Bottled Water; Digicel; Cayman National; Cayman First; Breezes By the Bay Restaurant; Kirk Freeport; 106.1 KISS FM; Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, CayCompass.com; NCI Services; Dolphin Discovery; Conyers Dill & Pearman; MILO; Cayman Airways; FastSigns; RVC Rehab/BioFreeze; Bliss Living Yoga Cayman; Coppertone; Tropicana Tours; Quaker; CUC; RE/MAX Cayman Islands; KPMG; CayBrew Light; Smoothie King; Scotiabank; The Final Touch; Harneys; Coca-Cola; Cayman Imports Ltd.; Cost-U-Less; and KRyS Global.

For more information email [email protected] or call Bev Sinclair on 946-8822.

The first 25.5 miles of the marathon can be achieved through running, swimming, cycling and hiking and children should have their parents or another adult sign their log verifying that they have completed each mile.

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