Monday, 29 July 2013 16:57

Run for Your Life! Fun runs for kids

Written by  Missy Black
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Give the littles a chance to run out all that energy with runs featuring zombies and tons of mud! 

Zombie Dash Kalamazoo
Spring Valley Park, Kalamazoo
Aug. 10, 8:30-11 p.m.
$42 for racers, free for zombies

This evening event might just be the thing for bored teens. Sort of like a mix between a haunted house and a really good workout, the Zombie Dash at Spring Valley Park has survivors (runners) dashing through streets and paths between sunset and darkness. "Teens more than adults love to be scared," said Mark VanTongeren, co-owner and race director with Michigan Adventure Racing. "You aren't going to see the zombies until they are right upon you—so you get a good thrill." Runners have two life strips (flag football flags) that they must keep until the end to avoid infection (time penalties). Adults, teens and kids dodge zombies as they try and grab life strips and basically just freak people out. Runners must be at least 14 years old to wear life strips and young runners can run without them to reduce the risk of collisions with zombies. Racers under 18 years old must run with a parent or guardian. "We had 278 teens or younger out of 1546 participants," VanTongeren said.

Kids at The Market Series: Market Bingo
Grand Rapids Downtown Market
Corner of Ionia and Logan Streets, Grand Rapids
Aug. 13, 10 a.m.

Head over to the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, the new destination for local food innovation, education and experimentation, for the "Kids At The Market" event, which brings parents and kids together to learn how being healthy can be fun. Held every Tuesday through Aug. 27, the Aug. 13 date features Michigan State Extension offering Market Bingo. Children receive a printout to find certain things such as vegetables and their prices. Players get prizes and "get a better understanding of the market by talking to vendors," said Event Coordinator Hanna Schulze. "Kids love winning prizes and accomplishing things, and it's a fun chance to meet new people and check out fruits and vegetables other than walking around with mom shopping." Also available are arts and craft opportunities, jump ropes, hula hoops and sidewalk chalk—so there's that.

Grand Rapids Kinds Mini Mud Run
Kentwood Community Church
Aug. 24

Keep in mind that a little dirt won't hurt and you'll be fine with the mess at this mud run designed especially for kids. The course is about 1.5 miles and includes muddy obstacles for mini mudders. "They aren't difficult obstacles but are fun and if parents are already running they can run with their kids," Kara Bartlett, Mud Run intern said. There's nothing mini about the mud pit section that's filled with tons of mud sure to get the kids completely soaked. "It's fun for adults to act like kids, but the kids get to be kids." In related news, In The Image has become a Kids Mini-Mud sponsor and will be collecting and cleaning mud-filled shoes left behind (keeping them out of landfills) and getting them to those in need. This means kids feel good with a fun, active run and feel even better with a shoe donation in the end. 

Junior Tennis Clinic
Stowe Stadium, Kalamazoo College
Aug. 9, 5-6 p.m.
Free, (269) 337-7343

Kids ages 5 to 14 participate in a fun and exciting tennis clinic at Kalamazoo College where national junior players, national coaches and the YMCA professional staff conduct a free junior tennis clinic on the Stowe Stadium back tennis courts."There's the excitement of the kids being exposed to tennis," said Terry Miller, assistant to the tournament director. "Kids can get autographs, prizes and it's great to see the interaction of the players, coaches and kids." If your kids own a racquet, bring it, but racquets are also provided. The event will be canceled in the case of weather.

Kids' Day Event and Fashion Show

Younkers at RiverTown Crossings Mall, Grandville
Aug. 17, noon to 3 p.m.
(616) 257-5927

Back-to-school shopping kicks off with this themed "Mutts and Mermaids" event at Younkers. Local animal rescue organizations come out to the store with animals (not just dogs) and inform guests about their community work. The mermaid portion features a rep from the Miss Michigan's Outstanding Teen program that's involved in the pageant and dresses up as a mermaid, singing before the fashion show. The mermaid greets children and is available for photos. The fashion show features 15 to 20 young children ages 2 to 12 wearing back-to-school fashions. The show begins at 1 p.m. with lots of sales on hand. "Parents love the sales and kids like watching their peers in a fashion show," said Meribeth VerHulst, event coordinator and personal shopper. Food samples and refreshments are on hand as well.

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