Youth raise the pace with 5K runs for charity

Distance races gain popularity among high school students


Madisen Lynch

Running long distances has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, but never before have organized races been as popular with young adults, according to a October 2013 study.

The study, conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, more young adults are participating in fun runs than ever before, especially those under the age of 18.

Dr. Daniel Cushman, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said he attributes the shift to the growing appeal of staying in shape.

“There is a greater interest in running among high school athletes,” he said. “People view running more as exercise instead of just a sport.”

According to the study, 10 percent of runners are under the age of 20, and one in five are under the age of 25.

Caleb Olsen, the director of operations for Podium Sports, the company that organizes the Turkey Trot in Minneapolis, said the growing participation in these events is because of the atmosphere created during races.

“The different themes appeal to a younger crowd,” he said. “In terms of a social event, people like to accomplish something and running is a good way to do that.”

A number of students from Park participated in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, including junior Kyle Nordstrom. He said he doesn’t enjoy running, but likes the sense of achievement upon completion.

“Nothing is fun about running, it’s not fun struggling to complete the race,” he said. “But you feel accomplished when you cross the finish line.”

A list of upcoming runs can be found at, including past favorites such as the Polar Dash on Jan. 1, 2014.

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