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AUSTIN, Texas – This Saturday former Texas Longhorn Leo Manzano and Marathon Kids will host the organization’s Austin Kick Off Ceremony at Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium at 9 a.m.

The two-time Olympian announced his partnership as the official national celebrity ambassador for Marathon Kids in August, as the non-profit organization works to improve the health and fitness of children by offering tools, motivation and support to build a healthier lifestyle. He began supporting Marathon Kids in 2005 while he was running for the Longhorns. Since then, he’s attended several events to continue his involvement, encouraging K-5th graders to become healthy advocates through the 26.2 Mile Challenge.

This is the 19th season for Marathon Kids in the Austin area. This year, Marathon Kids has joined forces with a number of sponsors to provide assistance throughout the year to encourage all 250,000 children under Marathon Kids to eat healthy, remain active and complete their 26.2 Mile Challenge.

“This Marathon Kids’, 26.2 Mile Challenge, is a simple and effective program that encourages children to include healthy habits into their lifestyle and future,” said Christine Pollei, executive director of Marathon Kids. “In our 19 years working with elementary schools in the Austin are we have seen massive growth in numbers and major support from the community.”

Saturday’s Austin Kick Off Ceremony will be the beginning of a journey for local children to run the equivalency of a marathon during the school year. The Texas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will support the event as well with representatives from many of the Longhorns teams running alongside the children and encouraging them in their first run toward completing their Marathon Kids 26.2 Mile Challenge.

Participants in the program from Austin Independent School District are scheduled for a 9 a.m. session. All other school districts participating are scheduled to run at 11 a.m.

Since being founded in 1996, Marathon Kids has encouraged more than 1.8 million K-5th graders to live a healthier lifestyle and increase their physical activity through the 26.2 Mile Challenge program.


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