Students from all of Wilton High School’s sports teams, as well as children from Wilton Youth Football, Wilton Youth Hockey and Youth Cheer, took part on Monday in the World Marathon Challenge, a global relay in which teams of children from around the world are banding together throughout the month of October to complete a full marathon distance of 26.2 miles.
The students raced one another to raise funds and awareness for Save the Children’s programs focused on child survival and well-being.
“Every child in the United States and around the globe deserves the very best chance to live a bright future, but not every child gets this chance, the chance to survive and thrive,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children in a release from Save the Children. “Achieving this vision is not a sprint, but a marathon – a world marathon.”
Dan Baird, captain of Wilton High School’s boys lacrosse team, said Wilton’s student athletes are more than happy to do what comes natural – run – to help a great cause.
“We’re becoming a part of a great tradition,” he said in the release, referring to the World Marathon Challenge. “It’s a great thing that is helping kids all over the world.”
Baird and his relay team of nearly 40 boys and girls lacrosse players, as well as all of Wilton’s World Marathon Challenge relay teams, were warmed up before the race by former NFL star Vince Workman.
Fifty-thousand kids in more than 60 countries around the world are taking the World Marathon Challenge. In the United States alone, nearly 12,000 kids in schools and clubs in 21 states and the District of Columbia are lacing up their sneakers and racing to the finish line. Relay races are being held throughout this month worldwide, with hundreds of teams running simultaneously on Oct. 23, a global day of action.
“The World Marathon Challenge gives kids an opportunity to help other kids in the United States and globally, while also having fun,” said Miles in the release. “Whether kids run in the race, raise funds or raise their voice to help more children survive the first five years of life, they can be powerful advocates for other kids.”
During Monday's race, 306 Wilton students raised more than $4,500 toward a combined U.S. fundraising goal of $100,000. The funds raised at each race will be used by Save the Children to provide child-focused interventions, ranging from offering newborn care advice to diagnosing and treating preventable diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria.
In addition to running in the race, students across America will be advocates for other kids by urging Congress to protect programs that help children in the United States and around the world survive and thrive. At some relay race events, kids can sign their name to a World Marathon Challenge-themed postcard or t-shirt, which Save the Children will present on behalf of their school and sports club to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.
To sponsor a school or club, go to WMC.savethechildren.org.