The Healthy Kids Running Series is coming to Valrico. Starting in October, the nationwide running program for kids ages 2-14 will hold a series of running events at Stearns Road Park in Valrico.

Founded in 2009, the Healthy Kids Running Series (HKRS) aims to motivate kids to lead healthy and active lifestyles through a positive introduction to the sport of running. The five-week running program is held in both spring and fall for kids in pre-K through eighth grade. Thirteen years strong, HKRS has impacted over 500,000 runners and offers over 200 programs in 41 states.

Valrico’s fall season starts Sunday, October 15 and runs on consecutive Sundays until November 12. All runs will be held at Stearns Road Park, located at 3709 Stearns Park Rd., starting at 3:30 p.m. Two and 3-year-olds run 50 yards, 4 and 5-year-olds run 75 yards, kindergarteners and first graders run a quarter of a mile, second and third graders run half a mile and fourth through eighth graders run 1 mile.

Kids compete each week for a chance to earn points. At the end of the series, the boys and girls who accumulate the most points in their respective distances are awarded trophies. All participants receive a medal at the last race of the series.

Community coordinator Elise Tanner decided to bring HKRS to Valrico after looking for a running program for her son.

“Within the last year, our oldest son, Henry, started showing an interest in long-distance running. We were trying to find a way for him to start getting involved in the sport but found he was still too young for the cross-country programs I contacted in the area. Through searching the web, I found Healthy Kids Running Series that was running down in Sarasota. We decided to give it a try this past spring, driving to Sarasota for five weeks. We enjoyed the events, loved the mission and felt like this would be a great opportunity for the families in our community,” Tanner said.

Tanner added that Stearns Road Park is the perfect place for the series.

“We’re really excited about the ideal setting. Sterns Road Park is beautiful, has a nice playground and, most importantly, the county did a great job of recently repaving the path around the park,” Tanner said.

Course maps are on the website. Registration is $45 and covers the five-week series, including race bibs for each week, runner shirts, finisher medals and trophies for top-place finishers.

For more information, email and visit the HKRS Valrico webpage at, the registration page at or the HKRS Valrico Facebook page at

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