Olympian inspires students to get healthy

Rod Dixon, the 1972 Olympic bronze medalist in the 1500 meter and the 1983 winner of the NYC Marathon, was the guest of honor at an assembly at Daniels Farm School on March 27.

Dixon is the founder of Rod Dixon’s Kid’s Marathon Foundation. The goal of Kid’s Marathon is to lay the groundwork for a lifelong commitment to good health and fitness habits.

During the assembly, Dixon, along with Bill Burgess, chairman of Rod Dixon Kid’s Marathon Foundation, congratulated the students on starting their first Kid’s Marathon. Daniels Farm is the first school in the district to bring this program to Trumbull. First Selectman Tim Herbst and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael McGrath were in the audience listening to Dixon inspire the students with his catchphrase: “Finishing is winning and winning is finishing.”

Three hundred Daniels Farm students in kindergarten through fifth grade are participating in the Kid’s Marathon, which was brought to the school by PTA parent Cathleen Kosak.

Dixon’s foundation inspires children to be healthy and active. Dixon told the students that his own running career was inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary, who was one of the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He explained that with PRIDE (personal responsibility individual daily empowerment) you can achieve all your goals.

Dixon also stressed the importance of being healthy with his “5-2-1-0” mantra. The numbers stand for five fruits and vegetables, two or less hours of screen time, one hour of moderate exercise and zero sweetened drinks. Dixon had the students stretching, running in place and chanting his mantra by the end of the assembly.

During the course of the next seven weeks, Daniels Farm students and teachers participating in the program will run, walk or skip a total of 25 miles. The miles will be tallied on a daily basis with the help of parent volunteers during recess. The event will culminate at a festival in Danbury on Saturday, May 31, where participants from area schools will run the final 1.2 miles, for a total of 26.2 miles over eight weeks.

For more information about the program, visit kidsmarathonfoundation.org.