TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UnitedHealthcare and IRONKIDS® are teaming up for the second annual UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS® Tempe Fun Run to inspire and motivate young people to lead active, positive and healthy lifestyles. For the first time, IRONKIDS will offer a dedicated ¼-mile track for kids with special needs.
The one-mile UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS Tempe Fun Run will begin at 8 a.m. at Tempe Beach Park – 54 West Rio Salado Parkway; Tempe, Ariz., 85281. IRONKIDS and UnitedHealthcare are offering a special needs ¼-mile course with a start time of 8:30 a.m. Participating children and their families are encouraged to arrive early. Onsite registration and pre-event activities begin at 6:30 a.m. and include healthy snacks, educational materials and warm-up exercises. The fun run course for “triathletes to be” will take place along portions of the IRONMAN® Arizona race course, which begins the next day.
UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound will lead warm-up exercises and join the kids at the starting line to officially kick-off the fun run. Families, community leaders, UnitedHealthcare employees and IRONMAN supporters will line the course to cheer for local youth on their quest to be “IRONKIDS.” Participants will receive race bibs, T-shirts and medals at the finish line.
All kids and families are invited to participate. UnitedHealthcare and IRONKIDS are providing no-cost registrations for the special needs course. Register by contacting Stephanie Wiersum, UnitedHealthcare, at 602-255-8263.
The cost for the Fun Run is $15 for kids ages 3 to 15. Registration details are available at www.IRONKIDS.com. UnitedHealthcare will match the first 200 paid entries with a donation to the Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit). UnitedHealthcare, recognizing the importance of SpoFit and its impact on the quality of life for people with disabilities, contributed $20,000 toward specialized, accessible sports wheelchairs that will be showcased during the special needs IRONKIDS race.
“UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to help host the first special needs IRONKIDS,” said Sheila K. Shapiro, COO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona. “We share IRONKIDS’ commitment to helping young people with special needs in their social and emotional development, and we applaud all young athletes who are accomplishing the goal of living an active and healthy lifestyle.”
This is the third year UnitedHealthcare is supporting IRONKIDS events as part of the company’s commitment to help stem the rising tide of childhood obesity through healthy lifestyles. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Children from low-income and low-education households are three-times more likely to suffer from obesity, which is a leading risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers – according to America’s Health Rankings, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. Nearly 1.2 million adults in Arizona are physically inactive, and almost 1.4 million are obese. Obesity in childhood is closely linked to adult obesity.
The 2014 UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS North American Running Series features nine Fun Runs and a dip-and-dash, as well as music and health expos, and the opportunity to watch IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® events with hundreds of spectators.
“We are thrilled to have UnitedHealthcare team up with IRONKIDS to sponsor these youth events across the country as part of our IRONMAN series,” said Carola Ross, Chief Sales Officer for IRONMAN. “The opportunity the Fun Runs give children in these communities is tremendous, as these races can be the catalyst for a lifetime of exercise and healthy living.”
After being acquired from the Sara Lee Corporation, which owned the event series since 1985, IRONKIDS® launched in 2009 with nine events in the IRONKIDS® National Triathlon Series. Since the inaugural year, IRONKIDS has seen more than 60,000 participants and has grown to over 40 events worldwide including races in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. The brand represents a multi-dimensional approach to creating positive experiences for athletes, families and communities as, as well as embodies achievement and determination while fostering self-esteem. The IRONKIDS mission is to inspire and motivate through the sport to live an active, positive and healthy lifestyle. For more information visit www.ironkids.com.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.