AIMS HIGHLIGHT COMRADES MARATHON’S CHILDREN SERIES PROGRESS
By: Thamsanqa Dlamini
The Association of International Marathons & Distance Races (AIMS) highlighted progress of the Children’s Series at the Comrades Marathon as part of its booming project at its 20th World Congress in Durban on Saturday.
AIMS took to account of what seemed to have a social impact on the world’s underdeveloped and developing countries.
The Children’s Series focuses on introducing long distance running to children as soon as possible.
AIMS Vice President, Martha Morales said, “We have got a lot of contrast here in Africa especially Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Western Sahara and South Africa. As we have in Africa, we proposed to also have it in America although the majority is in Africa.”
Morales, who heads the programme, said their aim was to encourage families to engage their children in long distance run at the earliest possible age. This will be effective on their lives as they grow to be recognised around the world.
“We want to impact children and through the children we want to impact families. We want to encourage them to participate in these (races) and also to detect the talent so every organisation can see the winners and they can help them to improve themselves and support them,” she told JournalismIziko Sport.
She added that it takes as long as three years under their monitor and the rest is up to local organisers.
“We are happy that we are achieving our goals. This programme goes three years from the venue and then we move to another country in order to let them organise by themselves and continue to promote these children’s programmes.”
“The last edition in Zimbabwe near Harare and 10-15 years with some children from years as it depends on the organisation… with 350 children participated were orphans and living in difficulty.”
“Our goal now is to move to another country here in Africa as we have several proposals to be decided by end of the year. We plan to have at least three or more venues in ten years from now,” she said.
Morales said the last South African edition will take place in 100 to 150 km in Pietermaritzburg from Cato Ridge high school with over 1200 participants.
The race is scheduled to take place on 21June after most big races.
President of AIMS, Paco Borao, emphasised importance of running long distance in recognition of a huge turnout of about 10 million participants from around the world.
“We are seeing a great growth in the running movement. Running is the world most affordable sport, it’s a perfect solution to addressing many of the world’s health issues such as obesity. As many medical professionals around the world would like to say ‘exercise is the perfect pill’,” Borao said.