I've been running since I was in eighth grade and I've ran dozens of 5Ks, but none of them were as rewarding as the one I ran last Friday with my friend Ethann! 

A few months ago, my friend Kimberly and I spent hours supporting our friend Brandon (the owner of Fleet Feet Meridian) as he ran around Kleiner Park for 14 hours raising funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A lot of people came out to see him that day, but I distinctly remember seeing a few folks in a"Sole Kids" t-shirt stop by.

What I didn't know back in March is that I would eventually have an opportunity to be part of their amazing program.  One of our amazing listeners reached out to me when she realized she wasn't going to be able to be her 3rd grader's "running sponsor" for the Sole Kids finale 5K because she'd been injured in a car accident.  When she posted his cute picture to my Facebook wall and asked if I'd be willing to fill in, I immediately said yes!

If you're not familiar with Sole Kids, it's a new program in the Treasure Valley for kids from pre-school - 6th grade.  Over the course of eight weeks, the program gets kids ready to run their first 5K.  It focuses on planting positives every step of the way so that the kids develop confidence and self esteem. The also learn all the things I wish I would've learned before I started running track like how to run with correct form, proper breathing and goal setting.  Each week has a different theme like "getting to the starting line," "running isn't about being better than someone else, it's about being better than you used to be" and "whether it's a 15 minute mile or a 7 minute mile, it's still a mile."

On race day, you could tell this program did exactly what it aimed to do! The kids had an incredible cheer they led before the race and the last words from their coaches was a reminder that "they can do it!" And that was the one thing that Ethann and his friends Hunter and Bill repeated over and over again on the course.  It was so cute and so much fun running with them!

Like I've said, I've ran a lot of 5Ks (and 10Ks, and half marathons and marathons...you get the picture) but NONE of them were as rewarding as this Friday evening 5K with three awesome little dudes!

Check out these photos from race day and if you'd like your son or daughter to get involved with Sole Kids, you can learn more HERE!