October 28, 2008
letter from Brandy Chastain explains why she and 40,000 others will run
26.2 miles in the 20008 ING New York City Marathon.on Sunday, November
2nd to show their support in the fight against childhood obesity.
Chastain to young people today,
As a competitive soccer player, staying in shape was essential to succeeding
on the field. My accomplishments as an Olympic and World Cup champion
were a direct result of setting personal fitness goals and working hard
to achieve them.
Although I’m no longer playing at that level today, I still value
the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle. That’s why
I’ve embarked on a new challenge that requires a similar commitment
to physical fitness.
On Sunday, November 2nd, I’ll be testing my mettle along with 40,000
other participants in one of the world’s most celebrated running
events – the 2008 ING New York City Marathon.
My goal, like most recreational runners, will be to complete the 26.2
mile course for one of the greatest thrills of a lifetime – crossing
the finish line in Central Park.
I’ll also be doing it to support a special program -- the ING Run
for Something Better -- and to prove to young people everywhere what can
be accomplished through perseverance, training and a commitment to staying
healthy and fit.
The ING Run for Something Better is a fantastic effort that provides money
for free school and community running programs across the country. The
idea is to get young kids excited about exercise while recognizing that
too many are starting out on the wrong foot when it comes to their physical
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that 33
percent of kids are struggling with obesity, and that these rates have
increased by 200 percent in the last 30 years. Due to poor nutrition and
sedentary lifestyles, we’re also seeing a startling increase in
the number of children with health issues like type 2 diabetes, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke -- problems traditionally
found in adults.
So how do we address the fact that today’s young people are facing
a health and fitness crisis of epidemic proportions?
Part of the solution is simple. American kids need to get more exercise.
We need to get more children off the couch and away from their televisions
and video games, while reintroducing them to the sheer pleasure of physical
activity, like running. It’s everyone’s responsibility –
parents, businesses, schools, and the community at large – to make
I’m encouraged that a company like ING is doing its part to promote
healthier kids. As a sponsor of long distance running events in the U.S.,
the financial services company has made youth running and fitness a priority
through its ING Run for Something Better program. It’s a perfect
fit for my own work with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative
(BAWSI), a non-profit group which creates opportunities for female athletes
to bring health, hope and wholeness to the Bay Area community.
Here’s how the
By partnering with school districts, municipalities
and race organizations, the ING Run for Something Better helps establish
youth running programs while providing tools and education aimed at promoting
a lifetime of physical fitness. These programs are succeeding in cities
like New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, Hartford, Philadelphia
and Denver. Since ING began sponsoring marathons five years ago, more
than 30,000 children have logged over one million miles.
To spread the message even further, ING established the “Orange
Laces” fundraising campaign so that everyone can join this effort.
When someone donates $10 or more to the campaign, they receive a pair
of orange shoelaces as a token to show they are “tied” to
supporting kids’ fitness. One hundred percent of these proceeds
go directly to funding ING Run for Something Better programs.
Come race day, I’ll be wearing my orange laces with the hope of
inspiring more young people in the U.S to follow my footsteps.
You can help, too, by going to www.orangelaces.com/nyc
and making a donation to support me in the race. All the money I raise
goes to the ING Run for Something Better initiative. I encourage you to
take this important step, and to help give our younger generation a running
start to better fitness -- and better lives.
co-founder of the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative, is a former Olympic
and World Cup soccer champion who played on the U.S. women’s national
team from 1988-2004. She encourages everyone to visit www.orangelaces.com/nyc
where they can make a donation to the ING Run for Something Better and
receive a pair of orange shoelaces to show they are “tied”
to supporting kids’ fitness.