JACKSON TWP.  In the early morning on July 28, there were about 40 runners stretching and warming up on the athletic fields beside Jackson High School. The young athletes were getting ready to compete in the Paul & Carol David YMCA annual Healthy Kids Fun Run.

The runners’ ages ranged from two to 12 years old. Runs scheduled for the event included the 200- (for the youngest kids), 400- and 800-meter and a one-mile run.

Paul & Carol David YMCA Associate Executive Director Pam Leddon said the annual Fun Run is a collaborative effort with Jackson’s Cross-Country Coach Kevin Walsh. Most of the participants were from running programs at the YMCA.

"Coach Walsh and I hosts five running programs a year," Leddon said. "The runners this morning are mostly from one of those programs plus others from the community, the kids don’t have to be a YMCA member to participate in the run."

There were also a number of high school cross-country team members volunteering at the event throughout the morning and encouraging all of the runners to keep moving. Walsh gave each of the groups rules at the starting line.

"There are three rules: First have fun, second keep moving and third repeat rule one," Walsh said.

He also told each of the runners to "pace themselves" so they can finish the race and cross the finish line. Plus, he said he wanted, "to see smiles on everyone’s face when you come across the finish line."

Leddon and Walsh said the focus of the event is to encourage the kids to have fun and participate. All runners received a ribbon when they completed and the 800-meter and one-mile runners also received a metal.

Parents were asked to make a small donation when registering or dropping off their kids. Proceeds from the donations go to the Paul & Carol David YMCA Annual Campaign.