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Virtual 5K gets Palm Beach 4-H Youth Moving!

The new 4-H year started September 1 and the Palm Beach County 4-H Team wanted to get our 4-H members to get off on the right foot and “run” into the new year! So in the spirit of 4-H healthy living, a core program area in Palm Beach, and celebrating National 4-H week, we hosted a Virtual and Physical 5K. Never heard of virtual 5k? Most of our members had not either. The concept is a great one, especially for kids. The sound of a 5K can be daunting for a lot of people and many youth and adults do not have as much time as they would like to commit to training for a 5K or other race but we have found that starting small can lead to great results and healthy habits. Additionally, having a goal to work towards also helps youth maintain motivation and gain pride when that goal is achieved.

Palm Beach County 4-H 5K Event Flyer

To complete the virtual 5k, our 4-H’ers could run, walk, bike, swim, skip, strut, or do any other activity that got them to  move 6,500 steps, the equivalent of a 5K. Unlike most 5K events, which take place in a central location, this 5K is virtual because our youth can participate by themselves or in groups at their own pace. Participants were able complete the 6,500 steps in a single day or over the duration of National 4-H week and were asked to track their practice using a pedometer, smart phone or watch app, or other tracking tools.

We did not want to leave out our more avid and advanced runners either who enjoy the 5K race atmosphere so we teamed up with our colleagues at Mounts Botanical Gardens to host a physical 5K as well on October 12. It was a perfect morning to get 4-H youth and families together for a beautiful run through the garden. All of our 5K participants who completed the 6,500 steps took home a medal to celebrate their achievement and serve as a reminder to stay active and the importance of setting goals.

2019 4-H 5K in Mounts Botanical Garden

This was our first 5K event and the results and feedback has been amazing! Our 4-H Nature Club Teen Leader and virtual 5k participant, Arne Elisca, set a goal of 10,000 steps! And while he fell a little short, he did achieve more than 6,500 with a total of 7,020 steps. Arne’s Mom, Shirley shared during the week that “Arne put his pedometer on this morning which has proven effective in motivating him to move more throughout the day. He even walked on the treadmill!”

4-H Club Leader, Livia Tingler, of the FiRST Homeschool LEGO League Club, also participated with her family as well as another LEGO league club. Livia and her family really enjoyed the 5K experience and stated that “this event has inspired my family to walk more often!”

Livia Tingler and her family after completing the virtual 5K

4-H youth Elle de Berry, of the Boynton STEAM Kids Club, participated in our physical 5K. Ellie was the first to sign up for the physical 5K and came to the event excited to run in the garden. After completing the 5K, Ellie was proud of her accomplishment. “This is the first time I ever ran 3 miles,” she said.

Ellie de Berry with her 5K medal after completing the physical 5K

Palm Beach County 4-H plans to hold a second 5K event in March, along side our entire Florida 4-H Healthy Living Team, to keep our youth moving and encourage others to stay active, set goals, make friends, and live a healthy life. So mark your calendars! A huge thank you to United Healthcare for providing the medals for the event and to Mounts Botanical Garden for hosting our event.