Hundreds of Philly Kids to Battle Obesity at ING KiDS ROCK

Aug 27, 2013 9:45 AM ET
  • More than 1,200 local kids participate in youth fitness program
  • One mile fun run takes place Thursday, Sept. 12 at Belmont Plateau
  • Olympian Rod Dixon to encourage, inspire kids to love running


Press Release

PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 27, 2013 /3BL Media/ – The race toward a healthy future begins at the start line for more than 1,200 local students who will discover that running can be fun as participants at ING KiDS ROCK Philly. The non-timed, non-competitive event takes place Thursday, Sept. 12 at Belmont Plateau starting at 10:30 a.m.

After weeks of training, children in grades K-7 will run the “final mile” in their race to become ING KiDS ROCK marathoners. Race day is the culmination of a school-based running program designed to tackle childhood obesity through prevention.

“As the official charity of ING KiDS ROCK, the ING Run For Something Better® program is helping get kids on the road to adopting healthier lifestyles through exercise and healthy eating,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING U.S. Office of Corporate Responsibility. “This initiative is a fun way for kids to achieve a sense of accomplishment for their discipline leading up to the event, and we hope they continue running for years to come.”

The ING Run For Something Better training program guides children as they accumulate 25.2 miles (one mile shy of a marathon) at their own pace at home, during recess or at school. The mileage is tracked by a teacher, parent or facilitator. On race day, each child receives a medal and T-shirt as they cross the finish line of their final mile — completing their first “marathon.”

Coming out to cheer on the participants will be Rod Dixon, an Olympic medalist and winner of the 1983 New York City Marathon who is now a passionate advocate for children’s fitness. Dixon also won the Philadelphia Distance Run (now known as Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia) in 1980 and 1981.

“A love of physical fitness starts early and truly sets kids up for success in life on many levels,” said Dixon. “Running isn’t about punishment — it should be about having fun, getting outside and learning that being healthy feels great.  At ING KiDS ROCK, we encourage an environment where kids cross the finish line with a smile on their faces and everyone is a winner.”

ING KiDS ROCK is aligned with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, as well as the President’s Challenge, which encourages youth fitness. Runners can earn President’s Challenge rewards for staying active and tracking their progress with other kids nationwide. ING KiDS ROCK Philly takes place in conjunction with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 15. For more information, please visit

Press inquiries:

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About ING U.S.

ING U.S. (NYSE: VOYA), which plans to rebrand in the future as Voya Financial, is a premier retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company's vision is to be America's Retirement Company and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today — retirement readiness.  Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, ING U.S. provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services.  With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, ING U.S. is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family and one institution at a time.  For more information, visit

About ING Run For Something Better

ING KiDS ROCK is supported by ING Run For Something Better®, which helps fund school-based running programs and final-mile running events across America. As part of ING U.S.’s commitment to education, the program advocates curbing childhood obesity through prevention — teaching kids early on about the benefits of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Nationally, ING U.S. has committed more than $4 million of grants to school-based running programs through ING Run For Something Better. Since 2006, the program has raised an additional $1.7 million through its “Orange Laces” campaign. For every $10 donation, supporters receive a pair of orange shoelaces, symbolizing that they’re “tied” to youth fitness. All net proceeds go to ING Run For Something Better fitness programs. For more information about ING Run For Something Better, go to

About ING KiDS ROCK Philly

ING KiDS ROCK Philly is a cumulative marathon program highlighted by a non-competitive, non-timed one-mile fun run for kids grades K-7. As participants in the ING KiDS ROCK program, young athletes become marathon finishers by completing 25.2 miles of a marathon at their own pace with guidance from parents or teachers. The event aims to motivate children to live a healthy lifestyle, so they can learn early on that running can be fun and goals can be attainable. On Thursday, Sept. 12, all participants will meet to run one mile together. Each participant who crosses the finish line will receive a finisher’s medal and goodies to commemorate the accomplishment. More information is available at: