PGDC Kid’s Running Program

Get Kids Moving And Give Them The Means To Do It!

Obesity in children and adolescents is a serious issue with many health and social consequences that often continue into adulthood.

Children’s lives can be impacted in a fun and enjoyable way by teaching the development of life skills that will result in their living a more healthy, safe and balanced life.

In 2017, 334 middle school aged kids from inner-city and economically challenged neighborhoods throughout the Tampa Bay community participated in the PGDC Kids Running Program.  For six-weeks, the kids participated in Tampa Parks and Recreation Dept Staffed fitness drills and life goals training.  Through these drills, the kids were introduced to running as a lifestyle activity and to the concept that being fit can be fun.

The goal for the kids from the beginning…their carrot…if they attended all of the training sessions, attended school on a daily basis (no absences), had a good attitude, were polite, respectful and helpful and worked as a team, on Sunday morning, February 21st, they, along with their coaches, chaperones and volunteers, would be transported to Bayshore Boulevard to run the final two miles of the 2017 Publix Gasparilla Half Marathon.

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Upon arrival on Bayshore, they would work several of the Half Marathon Aid Stations, provide cheering and motivation for those Half Marathon participants that were on their way to the Finish Line and then as a group, they would run the final two miles and cross the Half Marathon Finish Line receiving their own Running Program Finisher’s Medal and Kids Running Program Finisher’s Certificate.

On Sunday, February 26, 2017, the Kids did indeed do what for six weeks, they had worked and trained to do.  In addition to running the final two miles and crossing the Finish Line of the 2017 Publix Gasparilla Half Marathon, on Race Morning, they did what they promised to do and touched the lives of thousands of Publix Gasparilla Half Marathon runners and walkers as they too, were in the final two miles of their half marathon.  The Kids cheered them on…high fived them as they passed by…smiled at them and for many, the kids provided the extra push that got them to their Finish Line.


Thanks to Publix Super Markets, Kellogg’s and Under Armour, each Kid received an Under Armour/PGDC Kids Running Program T-Shirt, a pair of Under Armour running shoes and a pair of Gasparilla ‘Pirate’ Themed Running Socks.

The PGDC Kids Running Program is administered by the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association in cooperation with the Tampa Parks and Recreation Dept.


In 2018, The PGDC Kids will be at it again!  On Sunday morning, February 25th, at 7:00 a.m., they’ll arrive on Bayshore Boulevard to cheer for the 2018 Publix Gasparilla Half Marathon runners and walkers as they begin the final two miles of their Race Day experience.  At 9:00 a.m., the PGDC Kids Running Program kids will Start their two mile run to the Publix Gasparilla Half Marathon Finish Line, where they’ll be presented with a PGDC Kids Running Program Finisher’s Medal!