Meet David Cleveland, Race Director for the 2016 Naperville Kids Marathon!
Cleveland has been involved with the Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon since its start three years ago as an Aid Station Manager. With his background in running and career working with children, it was without a doubt that he was the right person to spearhead the Naperville Kids Marathon.
“I started running when I was 35 years old. When I ran my first marathon and came in last place, I caught a fever for it,” said Cleveland. “The running community is all wonderful and positive people.”
Since that first marathon, Cleveland has competed in over 30 marathons, including four trips to Boston, and has even run internationally in London, Berlin, Rome, and Hamberg. He also participates in track workouts with Vic Hildebrand at North Central College and has been a dedicated runner with Mark Witt’s running club on Saturday morning’s for the last 14 years.
When he is not organizing the Naperville Kids Marathon, Cleveland, a retired school teacher of 36 years, has returned back to Elmwood Elementary School to take charge of the school’s running club, a position he has held for the last six years alongside Kathy Mueller.
“Having the children do the marathon gives them an example of what comes with perseverance to complete a life goal,” Cleveland said about the impact the Naperville Kids Marathon has on participants. “Today, kids spend too much time looking at screens and not moving. Running is an inexpensive sport that rewards the participant with countless health benefits such as a stronger heart and weight control.”
The Naperville Kids Marathon is a fun experience for children ages 5-13 to not only develop a love for physical fitness and activity, but also running. Children, with adult supervision, run or walk one mile 25 times over the summer and fall and record each run/walk in their colorful running log!
The program’s final 1.2 miles are completed with other hundreds of children who have been running their miles all summer on October 22, 2016. On race day, participants receive their official race t-shirt and bib before toeing the start line at the Naperville North High School football stadium. Runners are also welcome to have a parent or guardian run alongside them. When the children cross the finish line, they will receive their finisher’s medal, just like the finishers in the adult race.
“The main goals for the event are not only safety, fun, and excitement for running, but also developing a lifelong activity,” said Cleveland. “My daughters started off running 5K races and now I have done marathons with them and it’s the highlight of my life. It’s a wonderful feeling to run a marathon with your children.”
Registration is only $12, including the tee shirt, race bib, and finisher medal. Over 500 children have claimed their spots for the big event and registration will remain open until the end of the summer or once 1,000 entries have been received. For more information and registration, visit: https://runnaperville.com/kids-marathon/
Article written by Emily Zadny, 2016 Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon Media Coordinator