With Dori Degenhardt

Healthy Planet Outdoors & Fitness Editor

April Means Earth Day and the GO! St. Louis Marathon


April is an easy month for me to highlight outdoor activities.  Two of my favorite St. Louis events happen to fall in April and for me, they each personify healthy living AND springtime in St. Louis:  the GO! St. Louis Marathon and the 40th Earth Day celebration in Forest Park.

Close to 3,000 marathoners will compete in the 10th running of the GO! St. Louis Marathon on Sunday, April 11th. Participants from 48 states and 10 different countries have registered to compete in Missouri’s largest marathon.  (How exciting!)  On Friday, April 9th, runners and health-buffs alike will enjoy the Health and Fitness Expo at St. Louis University’s Chaifetz from   11a – 7p.

Saturday, April 10th is the Family Fitness Events from 7:30a –Noon in Forest Park (near the Cricket and Lindell Fields.)  The 5K Run/Walk is at 8a with the Read, Right and Run Marathon at 9:15a.  The Read, Right, & Run Marathon® was launched in 2001 and quickly gained national recognition. Their goal is to develop reading proficient, physically fit and community minded children by challenging them to READ 26 books, RIGHT the community with 26 good deeds, and RUN 26.2 miles over a six-month period. It is a standards-based, sustainable enrichment program that endorses and supports existing school curriculum. All of that hard work culminates each year when the K-5 students run their final 1.2 miles and the middle schoolers run a 5K (3.1 miles) at this Family Day Event.

The Children’s Fun Runs begin at 10:15a at Cricket Field.  The children’s fun features four different events for children ranging in age from a toddler, who maneuvers the short carpeted course with a crawl or quick burst of energy to the awaiting arms of a parent, to children aged 2-10 years-of-age, who compete in either a 50-yard dash, 100 yard dash or half mile run. Traditionally close to 300 children participate in one of the four different distances. Each child receives an event t-shirt and commemorative finisher’s medal to celebrate their accomplishment.

Finally, the Mature Mile event at 10:45a on Saturday, April 10th is especially for seniors, 60-years-of-age or older to walk a mile. The event started in 2005 and continues to inspire hundreds of seniors from local retirement homes, senior centers and area individuals each year to get fit.

The grand finale of the weekend is the marathon itself held on Sunday, April 11th.  The marathon and half marathon (including the relay teams) both begin at 7am.  This year’s event will feature lots of music and entertainment to encourage the runners as they run and the spectators through the streets of St. Louis.  Come down to Forest Park or join in along the marathon route to celebrate the event and cheer on all the inspiring runners of all ages!  All the details can be found at www.gostlouis.org.

The other earth and fitness friendly event in April is St. Louis Earth Day; held this year on Sunday, April 25th. Last year, my 4-yr old son and I did Trailnet’s ‘Pedal for the Planet ‘event prior to joining in on the Earth Day festivities.  It was the perfect combination of healthy exercise and Earth Day support.  This year, the ‘Pedal for the Planet’ will be from 9a – 10:30 on Sunday, April 25th.  Interested riders can meet in the front of the Missouri History Musuem at 5700 Lindell, from 9a – 10:30. This event is FREE but new helmets will be available for $10 from St. Johns Mercy Medical Center (who will also provide free bike helmet fittings before the ride.) Route map provided at registration. SAG support ends at 11:30 AM. And, of course, after the bike ride enjoy the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park just about a _ mile away from the History Museum.   Visit www.trailnet.org for more information.  Enjoy!