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Dash of cardio

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The consequences of Halloween can be quite painful for some children. Their tummies hurt from an overload of candy intake and their teeth ache from all the sugary goodness.

Luckily, the Junior League of Norman is hosting a fun and healthy alternative to wallowing on the couch in a fructose-fueled daze.

The Monster Dash is a great way to have ghoulish fun. Now in its sixth year, the race is designed to encourage children to get outside and be active.

Kids ages 12 and under can participate for free. Runners 13 and older will pay $35 to take part in the 5K or one-mile fun run/walk. All runners will receive a ribbon, while the top three male and female finishers from each category win a medal.

“Obesity is rising at an alarming rate, especially in Oklahoma and especially in kids, so that’s why it’s important that we make runners 12 and under free,” said Meghan Mullinax, Monster Dash committee chair. “Our goal is to make a fun way for kids to participate.”

The dash is styled as a family event for parents and children to participate in together. Runners are encouraged to join in the costume contest and can even wear their costumes while they run. The event also includes live music and entertainment.

Proceeds benefit health-centric projects like Food for Kids and Baby Steps.

Under the Food for Kids program, which is aimed at middle school students, the Junior League provides backpacks of food for chronically hungry children to bring home over the weekend.

Baby Steps, a free Early Head Start initiative, offers a safe place for teen mothers and fathers to bring their children while they attend high school.

Although the parents don’t pay for the child care, they are required to attend the program’s parenting class, where they learn the fundamentals of creating a stable environment for children.

The Monster Dash is an important fundraiser as well as a health-focused family activity.

“This brings families together and teaches kids about fitness,” said Mullinax. “It creates a fun way where they’re motivated to be active. It helps cure a problem and it gets people outside.”

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