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Friday, November 3, 2017

Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day 10k Expands McDonald’s Kids Run

Something Special for the Littlest Family Members

By Julie Isphording

Ronald McDonald with kids participating in the McDonald’s Kids Run - a new tradition at the Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk

Missy Hardy remembers with pride the day her son Max, age eight, asked her, "Can I be a runner at the turkey race too?"  Hardy, an avid runner and high school coach, happily obliged. She signed her son up for the first ever McDonald’s Kids Run, a short-distance event for children connected with the Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day 10k on the Cincinnati riverfront,  last November.

Max trained for several weeks, playing duck-duck-goose and jogging a “whole mile” with Missy. On race day, his parents pinned Max’s number on the front of his shirt. "He stretched and drank water before the race, just like adult runners do," recalls Hardy. When the announcer called the runners to the start, Max was the first one on the line—and he was the first one crossing the line 400 yards later!
"I have never seen him more excited than the moment he knew he had won," beams Hardy. "Just the look on his face was priceless. I was very, very proud. My only dilemma is that now he wants to race all the time."

Little turkeys love the McDonald’s Kids Run!

Ronald McDonald was there to drape a medal over Max’s neck and hundreds of other breathless, happy children while parents stood in awe.  

“Those are magical moments for everyone,” said Terri Schmidt with McDonalds.  “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry---probably a little blend of both.” 

Ronald McDonald helps the kids warm up.
The Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day Race added the kids’ event last year as a pilot project so even the littlest family members were included in the century old tradition. 

“We were amazed at the turn-out,” said Ronald McDonald, who stretched with each child at the start and cheered for them at the finish.  “We made lots of memories that morning, especially for the moms and dads on the sidelines.” 

Parents help the little ones participate in the Kids Run.
The huge success of the first year prompted McDonald’s to make the event a permanent part of the healthy tradition.  The non-competitive loop course is a quarter mile on Second Street for children 5 to10 years old.  The kids start and finish at the official start and finish line race banners –just like Mom and Dad. Ronald McDonald and many volunteers—along with proud parents— greet each child at the finish with a large customized medal and a free t-shirt.  

“Hopefully Max Hardy and all the other children will maintain their interest in running and/or other forms of exercise through a long and healthy life,” said Tom Kiefhaber, M.D. from TriHealth.   “The event really makes fitness fun again and encourages children to ‘play at it’.”

What a thrill to get a medal at the finish from Ronald himself!
Children's running is truly on the rise. A growing majority of running parents and their children have discovered fitness is a family affair, and races like Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving Day 10k can become a family tradition lasting for generations, encouraging children to get off their computers. 

“The event is more like a holiday party than a race for all the kids and their parents,” said Mike Brown, who has been emceeing the event for 12 years.  “And I have the most fun of everyone.”
The website  has online registration, plenty of training advice and healthy tips to help you lose weight, train smart and learn how great you can be. Packet pickup and additional registration is also available at The Running Spot by JackRabbit from November 18-22, and race day registration is at Paul Brown Stadium.

The team from the Running Spot by JackRabbit outside the O’Bryonville Store:  Front row -  Fran Urbina and Wade Modzelewski;  Back row - Connie Kolita, Monica Flynn, Walker Smith, Drew Gates, Jason Bradley, Jody Collier, Brett Rubin, Susan Woodhouse and Hannah Neises.
Everyone gets running gloves, a gift certificate from McDonald’s, P & G products and lots of other free stuff. The limited edition soft, long sleeve t-shirts have a special design created by renowned artist Wendy Bentley.

The event is sponsored by lots of local companies, including Western & Southern, McDonald’s, TriHealth, TQL, The Running Spot by JackRabbit, Always, Busam Subaru, MCM CPAs & Advisors, Mt. Lookout Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center, Modo Yoga, Tillar Wenstrup Advisors, Kroger, Roehr Agency, Simple Truth, Morgan’s Canoe Livery, Exercise & Leisure, Wealth Planning, Q102 and Local 12.

Do You Know Her? We're Sure You Do!
Nominate Your Favorite Mother, Daughter, Friend to 'Ring In' the Start of the W & S Thanksgiving Day 10k Run/Walk

For the first time in race history, a hundred special women and girls will be on stage at the starting line to send off runners and walkers with a ‘cowbell symphony.’

Do you know that woman who is always involved in something — making a difference in her community and the lives she touches? She radiates an inner charisma. She's deeply good. She always makes you feel funny and valued. You often catch her looking after other people and inspiring them with her extraordinary strength, bravery and perseverance. She is the one who goes the extra mile to help make life better for others.

She's the one we want you to nominate to join 99 other woman to be on stage to celebrate the official start of this year's 108th event.

No other race in the world celebrates women and girls like Cincinnati's Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day 10k Walk/Run.

The exciting new feature of the race is sponsored by Always®, a P&G product that empowers women to live life without limits, and radio stations Q102 and B105.
Nominate that special woman or girl during online registration for the event at

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