Run Charlottesville gives kids a chance to sweat

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 Sports) -- Sunday afternoons at the track, open to everyone.

“There’s just excitement,” said junior distance runner Mary Blankmeyer. “It’s contagious; they’re so happy it makes everything worth it.”

Where nothing can stop you from running.

“The thing that's really cool about running is you really only need sneakers,” said junior distance runner Briana Gess.

Run Charlottesville, a program started by UVA athletes, gives kids a free chance to get outside and sweat.

“We wanted to create an environment where kids were encouraged whether of their ability level, age anything that would prevent them from having that introduction to be introduced,” said Blankmeyer.

Mary Blankmeyer, a member of the UVAtrack team helped to create the program. Their hope is to encourage kids from low income families to come out and run.

“I'm from Chicago and that was pretty prevalent and track was the one place you could go beyond that,” said Blankmeyer.

When Run C-Ville started, only a couple dozen kids would show up. On the last race of the fall this past Sunday, over 200 runners came out.

“You get to get a lots of extra energy out and it's just really fun and I love running,” said Derek Groff, a Run C-Ville participant.

Many of the volunteer coaches are UVA athletes:

“It's been really awesome to have all of our closest friends from all different sports teams coming here and focusing on track,” said Gess.

Running side by side with some of the Wahoos.

“To see these guys that had been on TV last night out here on Sunday morning with the kids is really just, that's really what athletics is about,” said Gess.

The kids are learning the importance of exercise and teamwork.

“All of us running together and like when I run around the track sometimes I talk with my friends,” said Groff.

And the coaches are reminded of the joy athletics bring:

“Taking a step back and seeing that excitement of why we started sports in the beginning has been so fun for all of us,” said Blankmeyer.

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