The William’s Route 66 Marathon brings in runners from all over the country to Tulsa, and new this year – it’s bringing elementary school-age children across the finish line as well and teaching them life lessons in the process.
“It felt really good, I felt like yes I really did it and just ran three miles, that’s the most I ever ran in one day,” elementary schooler Wyatt Green told News On 6.
Wyatt is one of the kids who participated in the first ever Kicks for Kids program -- a three-month long training where Route 66 directors coached students at 3 Tulsa schools, and one elementary school in Broken Arrow. This is the first Kicks for Kids in the marathon’s history -- allowing elementary schoolers to participate in the 5K race Saturday morning.
“We ran every Tuesday morning before school, and we went and ran a whole bunch of laps.” Wyatt shared.
He said he enjoyed getting to run with his friends and working towards the goal of running his first 5K.
Wyatt’s mother and Route 66 Race Executive Director, Destiny Green, was one of those coaches with Kicks for Kids, and says the program was much more than running.
“There’s not a local running program quite like it. Our directors go into those schools and coach them and get them excited to run and it really helps them in so many different ways,” said Green.
She said it helps with their behavior and the teachers said they even do better in school.
All morning, runners of all ages crossed the finish line, whether to meet their personal goals, burn some extra calories before the holidays, or to run in honor of special causes, such as breast cancer awareness and people with disabilities.
One runner shared her story with News On 6, saying she was running for national nonprofit Ainsley’s Angels.
“It is so rewarding; it makes me what to cry I like to run but I like to make a difference when I do it,” she said.
Many of the runners who spoke to News On 6 shared that the experience wasn't about finishing the race but running it.
On Sunday, runners will gather for the big races, including the full marathon, half marathon and marathon relay. Those events start at 8 a.m.