Kids for Running Program Safety Tips

April 30, 2010

It’s never too late to establish good safety habits when running or walking, organizers of the Bellin Run’s Kids for Running program say.

“Running, walking and exercise in general will benefit your kids’ overall health,” said Tia DeLeers, Kids for Running program coordinator. “But as with all activities, you and the kids should be acutely aware of any safety issues and do your best to guard against injury.”

Practice the following safety tips and they’ll become lifelong habits. And if you can think of more, go ahead and add them to your list.

  • Try to run or walk with a partner.
  • Let someone know where you plan to run and when you will return.
  • Carry some form of identification.
  • On roads where bike paths or sidewalks are unavailable, always run or walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • When a car approaches from a side street, always make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of the vehicle.
  • Be a defensive walker or runner. Most drivers know that runners and walkers have the right-of-way, but don’t always assume every driver abides by the rules.
  • When running or walking against traffic, always pay attention to the oncoming cars. There are many drivers on cell phones that can be distracted and can slowly swerve to the shoulder. Again, be defensive.
  • If chased by a dog, slow your run to a walk and, if possible, avoid eye contact with the animal. If the dog approaches, turn away and stand still; the less movement from you, the greater chance the dog will lose interest.
  • Avoid walking or running along railroad tracks or on bridges. They are not designed to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges.

The Bellin Run Kids for Running program prepares local kids in grades 3-8 to run or walk the 10K (6.2-mile) course. Many students training for the 34th annual Bellin Run will do so through Kids for Running as part of their after-school activities or running programs.

Kids from 57 area schools are taking part in the 2010 Bellin Run Kids for Running program. More than 2,660 kids and trainers from 41 area schools took part in last year’s program.

“The numbers have steadily increased in each of the last five years,” DeLeers said. “In 2005 we had 1,486 program participants. In 2006 we had 1,955. In 2007 and 2008 we had 2,217 and 2,452 participants, respectively. Last year’s total continued that trend of increasing participation. This year is much of the same.”

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