Originally posted at 11:43 a.m. May 3, 2014. Edited with new detais.
About 5,500 students ran one mile at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa today to complete the Kids Run the OC program, the first of four events comprising the OC Marathon will be held today.
The participants had accumulated the equivalent of 25.2 miles of activity in the program before today's final mile that gave them the equivalent of the marathon distance of 26 miles, 385 yards.
The program intended to prevent obesity among pre-adolescents began in 2004 was conducted at more than 80 locations and drew a record number of participants, according to organizers.
There was a significant increase of Latino participants, including a 540 percent increase at St. Anne Parish School in Laguna Niguel and 61 first-time participants at Raymond Temple Elementary School in Buena Park. Nearly 25 percent of the program's participants are Latinos, organizers said.
Many of the Latino participants received scholarships to participate. A new pilot program provided new running shoes for participants at Monroe Elementary School in Santa Ana.
The program attracted its first Islamic school this year, New Horizon School in Irvine, where 47 students trained from 4-5 p.m. Fridays under the direction of athletic director David Rutledge.
The OC Marathon will conclude Sunday with the marathon, 13.1-mile half- marathon and five-kilometer run.
The marathon race will begin in front of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. The course continues through Santa Ana, concluding at the OC Fair and Event Center.
A total of about 16,500 runners have entered either the marathon, half- marathon or 5-kilometer run, according to organizers, who did not supply a specific breakdown of the number of entrants in each race.
--City News Service