North Texas

The Cowtown Marathon Gives 5,000 Kids New Running Shoes

People from all over the world are coming to Fort Worth later this month to run in The Cowtown Marathon, which is the largest multi-race event in North Texas.

It's the 40th year for the event, which continues to serve as a fundraiser.

"We've had a little practice," said board member Ralph Mendoza, as he wheeled boxes of shoes into Irving's Uplift Infinity Preparatory school.

"What's your name?" asked Mendoza, as a young student sat down in front of him. "Miguel, what size shoe do you wear buddy?" Mendoza asked.

This is Mendoza's ninth year helping The Cowtown deliver shoes through its C.A.L.F. program, which stands for "Children's Activities for Life and Fitness."

Uplift Infinity is the first of four school deliveries for The Cowtown staff and volunteers Friday. By the end of this season they'll make deliveries to about 110 schools, including elementary, middle and high schools.

"The goal is to get every kid out there exercising and fit that wants to get out there and run," said Heidi Swartz, the executive director of The Cowtown Marathon.

During this season alone, The Cowtown will deliver shoes to 11 school districts in North Texas, totaling more than 5,000 students.

"Like it's kind of blue-purple-ish," said third grader Emily Escoto of her new running shoes. "And it has glitter on it."

This month she'll run her first Cowtown 5K, which will bring an additional reason to celebrate the day. "My birthday, it's the same day as the run."

Emily's PE teacher, Christina Hicks, said this is her students' second year in The Cowtown's C.A.L.F. program.

"And when I told the kids about it, you would have thought I was giving them something on Christmas Day," Hicks said.

Because not only are they getting new shoes, "but, just the fact that they're part of a team," Hicks said. "Last year, we would practice twice a week—so it was really awesome for them to do that."

From new running shoes to reduced entry fees in the upcoming Cowtown Kids 5K, The Cowtown Marathon is preparing young runners for a lifetime of healthy living.

The Cowtown Marathon also includes an adult 5K, 10K, half marathon presented by Spoken Worldwide, full marathon presented by Sprint, and the ultra marathon presented by Miller Lite.

The races are the weekend of Feb. 23-25 at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. To sign up for any of their races, go to their website.

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