The honor also comes with a $5,000 program grant.
Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Executive Director Jack Staph (pictured below, left) and We Run This City youth marathon Senior Program Director Tara Taylor (pictured below, right) accepted the award on behalf of the We Run This City youth marathon program.
"Being recognized as the Youth Program of the Year is an honor for WRTC. This award acknowledges our work and the work of our partners (Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Prevention Research Center at Case Western Reserve University) over the last nine years," Taylor said.
"It also places the YMCA on the forefront of providing physical activity and youth development programs for kids that need it most," she said.
The award also places the YMCA of Greater Cleveland in the national spotlight with other nationally known programs such as Students Run LA and New York Road Runners.
"We are so excited that the YMCA of Greater Cleveland's youth marathon program, We Run This City, has been recognized with this national award," said Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Executive Director, Jack Staph. "The hard work that Tara and her team of students, teachers, and supporters put into preparing for the marathon each year is incredible --- and this award proves it. The program itself is great example of the Y's initiative to combat childhood obesity and how many different entities in Cleveland are working together for the same cause."
The award criteria was based on a number of factors, including, the program must: demonstrate a means for serving youth of varying levels of interest in physical fitness and ability level; provide the plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the program; have a comprehensive risk management provision for safety of participants including, but not limited to injury prevention, background check of all volunteers / staff and emergency segments; and have a nutrition and hydration education component.
What will the grant go towards? What every runner needs: good shoes.
Congratulations to the entire We Run This City team who believes crossing the finish line is only the beginning.
We Run This City is generously funded by St. Luke's Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Sisters of Charity Foundation, O'Neil Family Foundation, and the Mt. Sinai Foundation.
Learn more about the We Run This City Youth Marathon program here. You can also keep up with them on Facebook.