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Smile Mile: Plenty to Smile About

Over 2000 smiling kids age 5-11 from 129 schools, spanning five Florida counties including public, private, pre-school and home school communities turned out Saturday, March 4th for the annual Smile Mile.  The Smile Mile is a one mile running festival held in Orlando at Blue Jacket Park.  

Fun, fitness and high fives are just a few reasons Smile Mile has become one of the largest all-kids races in Florida.  T-shirts, medals for all finishers and school spirit awards are also motivating factors for coaches, parents, teachers and school administrators
who encourage their school population to train and participate.    

“We’re thrilled to see how Smile Mile has grown year after year,” says Jon Hughes, Race Director and co-owner of Track Shack, a local specialty running and walking store in downtown Orlando.  “This race is among the top kids-only races in Florida.  The growth over the last few years has come from schools where administrators and PE coaches really encourage running programs and make it fun.”

Keeth Elementary School of Seminole County has approximately 30 kids running Smile Mile each year. “My runners and their families totally love the Smile Mile! It is the grand finale of our running season and it is also the highlight of our running season,” says Sue Arbuckle, School Counselor at Keeth Elementary. “The atmosphere each year is so energetic, with the music, the crowds and the awesome finish line. The parents love all the family-friendly vendors and the runners do too.”

One school from each county with the most participants (25+) won the Coach “Sly” Johnson Award which provides a plaque and a $500 Track Shack Youth Foundation grant for a school’s PE program.   This award is in honor and memory of Coach Johnson who coached at an Osceola County elementary school. 

The 2017 Coach Sly Johnson Awards to the schools with the most participants are: 

School

County

Participants

First Academy

Leesburg     

40

Orlando Science School    

Orange

212

Osceola Science Charter

Osceola

72

Lawton Elementary

Seminole

88

Debary Elementary

Volusia

41

“The Smile Mile has become one of the most anticipated events for Orlando Science Elementary. As a charter school, we view the event as an opportunity to promote health among our students and get involved with the community,” Michael Singleton, Principal, Orlando Science Elementary.
“Our school plans for the event during the summer months and the build up to the event during the school year promotes school pride. We feel the Smile Mile is the most supportive event of schools and youth fitness in Central Florida.”

Proceeds benefit the Track Shack Youth Foundation, a 501 © (3) organization whose mission is to promote lifelong health and fitness emphasizing youth and running programs in our Central Florida community.

Dedicated sponsors make events like this possible and successful!  Thanks to  Florida Hospital For Children, Florida Dairy Farmers, Parke House Academy, Musante Family Foundation, Hunter Vision, RDV Sportsplex, Power Crunch, First TeeOpal Apples,  Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen for their support!

Want to keep the momentum going?  View more local resources for keeping kids active: 
Cheetah Running Club:  http://www.trackshack.com/page.php?id=57
Other running clubs http://www.trackshack.com/page.php?id=126 
Track Shack Youth Foundation http://www.trackshack.com/page.php?id=4
View race day photos on Facebook.

See the live action  from the event! 



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