Rod Dixon Returns Home to Run Final Kilometre of Marathon
Rod Dixon Returns Home to Run Final Kilometre of Marathon with Thousands of South Auckland Children
Dixon celebrates 30th anniversary of winning the NYC Marathon
AUCKLAND, Tuesday 17 September 2013: Thousands of South Auckland children will this Sunday (22nd September) complete their first ever marathon by running the last 1.2 kilometre with Kiwi running legend Rod Dixon.
Held at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura at 11am, primary school children from 30 schools in South Auckland will converge to finish the final phase of their two month Rod Dixon KiDSMARATHON.
This run will be held as the last event during the Counties Manukau Classic (http://www.countiesmanukauclassic.co.nz/), with a half marathon, 10km and 5km run as well as the Rod Dixon KiDSMARATHON celebration 1.2km. There will also be free entertainment for kids and families.
Free buses provided by Auckland Transport from designated schools will help transport close to 1000 participants and their families to the final leg and home again.
The unique programme, developed by one of New Zealand’s most awarded distance runners, Rod Dixon, encourages children aged between 7 and 12 to run a full marathon (42.2 kilometres) kilometre by kilometre over eight to ten weeks.
New Zealand Rod Dixon KiDSMARATHON CEO, Tania Bui says Dixon was inspired by a meeting with Sir Edmund Hillary soon after he won his medal in 1972. Sir Hillary told him to use his win to inspire others.
“Rod came up with this brilliant idea of giving children an achievable way to complete a marathon. He started this programme in America eight years ago and this year 200,000 children in the US will complete the run. Next year we expect 10,000 children to participate in the South Auckland event,” she says.
Bui says another goal of the programme is to be a proponent in stopping childhood obesity.
Counties Manukau has one of the country’s most diverse ethnic makeups, including New Zealand’s largest Maori and Pacific populations, coupled with some of the highest levels of childhood obesity.
“The Ministry of Health tells us that one in five children between the ages of two and 14 are overweight, and one in 12 are obese. Three in 10 children are at risk because of excessive weight,” saya Bui.
The programme in Manukau is being made possible through the efforts of Counties Manukau Sport and the generous support of the New Zealand Community Trust, the Dragon Community Trust and the Blue Sky Trust.
The Rod Dixon KiDSMARATHON will reach even more children, with plans next year for it to be rolled out in a number of regions in New Zealand.
Rod Dixon, who is now based in L.A, is a former New Zealand middle- to long-distance runner. He won the bronze medal in the 1500 metres at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and in 1983 won the prestigious New York City Marathon thirty years ago.