TAOS, NM — The Taos Sports Alliance and Town of Taos are teaming up for the second year in a row to host the 5K Taos Turkey Trot which benefits Get Fit Taos Kids – a program which targets children ages 8 through 14 years old who are at high risk for health problems stemming from obesity. The Turkey Trot takes place on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Taos Youth and Family Center.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity affects 17 percent of children in the United States including in New Mexico, where 15 percent of kindergarten students and more than 21 percent of third graders are obese (NM Dept. of Health, Feb. 2012).
“We are excited to team up with the Town of Taos for the second year, and especially excited to benefit a great program that promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for Taos youth,” said Joel Israel, Executive Director of Taos Sports Alliance.
“Taos Sports Alliance is dedicated to supporting organizations that focus on sports and good health to our youth. Get Fit Taos Kids is a small organization doing big things. Teaming up with the Town to raise support for this program is a community endeavor that is nothing but positive for the future our youth,” said Justin Lea, President of Taos Sports Alliance.
The Get Fit Taos Kids provides six weeks of exercise sessions, ranging from swimming to yoga, strength training, and cardio conditioning for at-risk kids. The project began in 2010 as a collaborative between Holy Cross Hospital, Taos Clinic for Children and Youth, and Aura Fitness, among many others. There are currently six to eight girls and six to eight boys in the program. Children must be referred by a physician at the Taos Clinic for Children and Youth to take advantage of the free program.
“The key to the success of this program is that we offer a variety of activities and formats to get kids excited about exercising,” said Aura Garver, co-founder of Get Fit Taos Kids and owner of Aura Fitness. “We ask kids who have completed the program to become mentors for the new kids, which serves to empower them and extends the time that they are active with us. Kids learn how important it is to make long term investment in their health now so they don’t have greater health issues as adults. This program teaches them to build a foundation of healthy lifelong habits.”
In the future, Garver said they plan to add more of a nutritional component and hopefully add activities such as a hiking club.
The project is funded through a national initiative involving every state called the “Collaborative for Healthy Weight” initiative. Fifty grants were issued and, in New Mexico’s region which encompasses six states, the Get Fit Taos Kids program was the only one to receive a grant. Children who participate gain confidence, learn to eat healthier, and will hopefully establish a deep-rooted desire to be active as adults.
One hundred percent of the registration fee for the Taos Turkey Trot will directly benefit the project.
The 5K Taos Turkey Trot Road Race and Fun Run/Walk is open to fun run enthusiasts as well as experienced runners. Awards will be presented to the top three overall male and female runners immediately following the race. Awards will also be given for Best Costume.
The 5K (3.1 mile) loop begins and finishes at the Taos Youth and Family Center located at 407 Paseo del Canon East in Taos.
Registration is $25 for adults; children 11 years and under are free. Event t-shirt will be issued to the first 100 registrants. Registration the day of the event begins at 8 a.m.
In 2011, during the inaugural Taos Turkey Trot, there were nearly 70 participants ranging in age from 6 years to 78 years old.