On the beautiful morning of June 19, more than 300 children, from first graders to middle schoolers, stepped onto the sunny fields at the Marshalltown Community School District to participate in the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships.
Throughout the day, until about 3 p.m., parents watched their children compete in track-and-field events, such as sprints and shot put. The families picnicked on and under the bleachers as dozens of kids stepped up to the winner’s podium to receive their medals.
Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships was founded in 2015 and requires no special equipment for participants. The organization partners with parks-and-recreation departments and school districts throughout the state to host local meets across Iowa, giving children a chance to compete in their hometowns. Altogether, some 1,800 kids participated in the Track Championships, like the Marshalltown event, at 24 sites. For 2021, two new sites were added to those of previous years’ competitions.
Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships operates under the umbrella of the Iowa Sports Foundation, whose mission is to provide athletics, recreation and health-and-wellness opportunities for Iowans of all abilities.
“I grew up with all kinds of opportunities for before-school and after-school activities, and we don’t have that much anymore,” says Chuck Long, the Iowa Hawkeyes football legend who is CEO and Executive Director of the Iowa Sports Foundation. “I get upset when I go down city blocks and don’t see any pickup games going on. As kids, we played pickup games every single day. We want to give kids a chance to stay active, get outside and be healthy.”
With Spahn & Rose’s sponsorship, the nonprofit organization paid for equipment the host sites needed to accommodate the competition and banners that were placed around the events. The group was also better able to market the Championships to encourage more children to participate.
“Sponsorship from Spahn & Rose helps us put on the event and grow it,” Long says. “We’re able to have more kids and more sites because of that sponsorship.”
Supporting the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Track Championships perfectly aligns with Spahn & Rose’s Core Values, and “the event in Marshalltown was particularly meaningful because our store there is deeply engrained in the community,” says Spahn & Rose CEO Dave Davis.