St Petersburg, FL- St. Pete Run Fest has partnered with Humana Healthy Horizons, Healthy St. Pete and the City of St. Petersburg community wellness initiative, to help address access to physical activity materials and education. As a result of the collaboration, Healthy St. Pete distributed 644 Recess Play Packs to 22 elementary schools in St. Petersburg in September 2021. These Recess Play Packs included frisbees, balls, jump ropes and other play equipment for students to utilize during unstructured free-play recess.
In 2017, Florida legislators passed a bill requiring elementary schools to set aside 20 consecutive minutes of unstructured playtime per school day. This bill was supported by a plethora of research-based institutions including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Alliance for Public Schools. Many schools encountered barriers to this mandate, including access to outside play space and access to equipment. Oftentimes, teachers are left to spend their own funds to purchase both recess and academic materials to supplement their classrooms.
St. Pete Run Fest, Humana Healthy Horizons and Healthy St. Pete each recognize the benefits of unstructured free play during the school day and wanted to provide both equipment and activities for youth in the community. In a collaborative effort, a complementary HealthyKids Run Club training program and kit was also provided to each school. The 10-week training program outlines activities, stretches and games to prepare kids to participate in a race event. The once weekly run club can be facilitated by school staff members, parents, or community volunteers. It can be an after-school program or integrated into classroom/PE daily activities. Most materials needed for the run club, including bracelets for counting laps, are included in the kit.
HealthyKids is one of the many community-based wellness programs provided by Healthy St. Pete. This program is specifically aimed at giving kids in St Petersburg the knowledge and tools to live their healthiest and best life. The mission of Healthy St Pete is to build a culture of health in the city by making the healthy choice the easy choice through a collaborative, community effort.
Thanks to the generosity of Humana Healthy Horizons, each school also received two free adult 5K entries and two free PeliKids race entries. Schools can use these entries to reward or thank staff members and encourage participation for students. The St. Pete Run Fest will be held November 13 & 14 and includes PeliKids youth races, 5K, 10K and Half Marathon distances.
St. Pete Run Fest is three days of festival fun, including running events, The Rollin’ Oats Wellness Market and Café, post-race food catered by Outback Steakhouse, music, and craft beer from local breweries. With distances for kids, beginners and seasoned runners, there’s plenty to entertain the entire family in the Sunshine City, St. Petersburg, Florida. Enjoy the best of St Pete while participating in this ocean-friendly event.
For more information about St Pete Run Fest or to register visit: www.stpeterunfest.org.