WITH the International Peace Marathon (KIPM) race slated to take place weekend at Amahoro National Stadium, children have also been given chance to actively participate in the two day event.
The growing realization of running as a common cause throughout the world has led to many links being established between races, for which the International Athletics Marathon for Soroptimist (AIMS) provides a forum.
Organising this event formally captures the attention of a wider public. With this in mind, AIMS launched the Children’s Series at the beginning of 2006 to assist selected member races in promoting running among children.
Many great athletes have often emerged against great adversity. AIMS seek to encourage more young children to follow their dreams and to aim for a healthy life.
The intention was to support races in poorer countries since a number of big international races in wealthier countries had already developed children’s races alongside their own events.
The first Kigali Peace Marathon took place in the Kigali city and alongside it the third event in the AIMS Children’s Series, with 2000 children starting and finishing their 5km run inside the National Stadium.
The AIMS Children’s Series 2008 came to a close with the final event of the programme in Addis Ababa on 22 November.
During the same year, AIMS Children’s Run took place on 11 May in conjunction with the Kigali Peace Marathon. Entries were over-subscribed as 1700 children took part but only 1250 could be registered.
It was effectively a fantastic curtain-raiser for the Marathon, 1700 children aged from 9-13 started from with in the stadium just before the top athletes.
They completed a separate lap on the surrounding roads before re-entering the stadium for the final 300m on the track.
This can be compared to 2007 marathon race, where more than 1200 children registered for the 5km fun run in which they ran alongside people of all ages.
Like the previous one, it started from within the national stadium, and ran pell-mell for the exit gate to start their circuit of the surrounding streets in the outlying Kigali city. The race attracted a lot of support from the crowd along the route.
The circuit included some inclines, made more taxing by the moderate altitude but even the smallest children seemed to complete the entire course without stopping or walking.
The final part of the lap involved circling the stadium on the road outside before entering the arena to run the final 300m on the track.
The popularity of the children marathon race was in such a way that only one age group of 10-11 year olds was included within the Children’s race and others entered individually for the fun run.