Texas runner aims to get children off the couch with 'Speedkidz'

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by GEORGE RIBA

WFAA-TV

Posted on January 5, 2013 at 8:17 AM

UNIVERSITY PARK -- The cold weather this week had no effect on a group of young runners participating in a running camp. It seemed like a perfect way to end their Christmas vacation.

"I think just [from] being a teacher for ten years, I know what the kids do during Christmas break," Dawn Grunnagle said. "Having Speedkidz is getting them off the couch, and getting them moving and getting them active."

Speedkidz is Grunnagle's brainchild -- she's a North Texas runner sponsored by Nike. She qualified for the Olympic Trials last year and most recently won the Komen Race for the Cure in Dallas and the Rock N' Roll half at San Antonio.

She's using her teaching skills to get kids excited about staying active and helping them improve on everything from their running form, to their speed and agility.

"You're doing something, and you're hanging out with friends also, and you just get to run," said Eric Hirschbrich, 11.

Parents like the program, too.

"It's a perfect way to get them off the couch and be a little more active heading into school and into the spring sports," said dad Chris Moody.

"It’s not competitive, so kids are competing against themselves and trying to get their times better," Grunnagle said.

"It's fun, and it trains you better," said 11-year-old Mia Alvarado.

Grunnagle is hoping that through sponsors, her Speedkidz program can eventually spread free of charge throughout North Texas.

"That's the number-one goal," Grunnagle said. "The bigger vision for me is to have a program like this for kids all over D/FW. I wasn't in organized sports, but now a days, that's all kids do is organized sports. I want this to be a program where the underprivileged kids and any kid can come out and not have to pay for it, and come out and have fun."

"The number one thing is to have fun," Grunnagle said.
 

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