‘Small but Mighty’: Kids Fun Run returns with enthusiastic young runners

‘Small but Mighty’: Kids Fun Run returns with enthusiastic young runners

“I know these guys are small, but they are mighty.”

Those were the words of Mill Race Marathon race director Randy Stafford as he prepared to unleash a stream of young runners (along with their parents) across Mill Race Park for the first race of the 2022 Kids Fun Run.

About 1,100 kids pre-registered for the event, with races for kids as young as toddlers and as old as sixth grade. On Friday at 5.30 pm another 145 children had registered and the registration tents were still occupied. Kids Fun Run committee member Cheryl Wright said that while not all registered youth showed up for their race, they were hoping for an attendance of about 1,000.


More than 700 children have registered for the Kids Fun Run in 2021; 590 ready. All children who cross the finish line will receive a medal.

A 4-year-old, Aariz Alom, couldn’t contain his excitement and rushed out for the sound-off for his age group.

When asked if Aariz could ever run the marathon, his father, Polash Alom, said, “Too early to say, but hey, we’ll try to encourage him.”

It was Aariz’s first time participating in the fun run, and several of his classmates from Bei Bambini were also planning to participate.

For local schools, student participation is the name of the game when it comes to the Kids Fun Run. Each elementary school with 10 or more participants will receive a $250 gift certificate for sports and exercise equipment; kindergartens receive $75.

In addition, there are prizes for schools with the highest participation rates based on student population. There are three population categories for primary schools: large, medium and small. The schools with the highest rate in each category will receive $700; schools with the second highest rates receive $500. The kindergarten with the highest participation rate receives $200.

For Molly Smith, 3, the race was its own reward – as soon as she finished, she asked if she could do it again.

Since Molly has said she wants to be a “runner girl” when she grows up, going to her first fun run is a good start to a good habit, said mom Hayley Smith.

For Winona Clampitt, 3, this is also her first year on the fun run. Her parents, Jacob and Suzie, think that with all her energy and competitive spirit, it could be the first of many races.

The couple expressed their appreciation for the way the event brings the community together and promotes well-being.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Suzie said of the fun run. “I’m impressed with the audience.”

“I don’t know why more communities don’t do things like this,” Jacob said.

Claudio Cardenas also said the Kids Fun Run brings people together and is a great opportunity to be part of the community. This is his family’s third year in Columbus. When his son, Matias, first took part in the fun run, he was shy and didn’t speak English. Now he has learned the language and can talk to the other kids racing.

Cardenas has run several in the past and plans to run the half marathon today. Matias, 7, also showed an interest in running and sometimes played with his father’s medals.

The fun run is an opportunity for kids to “share the moment,” says Matias’ mother, Claudia.

Wright also said it is good for the youngsters to have their moment in the sun.

“They’re going to be the stars,” she said.

Her 9-year-old son, Lennon, has been participating for several years. He enjoys running and said it helps improve other skills. He plans to run the 5K today and also plays football.

“It’s (the fun run) just a great opportunity for kids to get moving and find a love for running,” Wright said.


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