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Run Music City!
By Aaron Broder
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

YMCA Country Music Kids' Marathon Over 1,000 kids line up for the YMCA Country Music Kids' Marathon.
Courtesy of Elite Racing, Inc.
April 29, 2006—Nashville, Tennessee is a busy place during the spring. In addition to the Nashville Film Festival, the city is home to the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon. This year, more than 23,000 people signed up to participate in the marathon and half-marathon. That is not counting the 1,600 kids grades K-6 that participated in the YMCA Country Music Kids' Marathon.

Although many groups run in the marathon for charity, much of the excitement is in watching the elite runners—athletes with extraordinary finish times who travel around the world competing in marathons. This year, all eyes were on Feyise Tusse, from Ethiopia, as he crossed the finish line first. This marks the first year the men's marathon has not been won by a runner from Kenya. Representing Russia, Tatiana Mironova won first place among the women running.

The YMCA Country Music Kids' Marathon is a modified marathon. Kids prepare by running 25.2 miles, usually with their schools, over the course of five weeks preceding the event. They run the remaining mile on race day.


Marathon winners Tatiana Mironova and Feyise Tusse
Country Music Marathon winners Tatiana Mironova and Feyise Tusse.
(Photo: Courtesy of Aaron Broder)
"The mission of the YMCA Kids' Marathon is to provide kids with the opportunity to enhance their physical activity while focusing on reaching a goal," says Tennessee Titans' head coach Jeff Fisher, the official spokesperson for the YMCA Country Music Kids' Marathon.

Following the marathon, runners and fans alike were treated to a country music concert. This is "music city," after all. Among the performers were the three finalists from Nashville Star, a television show similar to American Idol, except that the performers sing country music. After the show, I had the opportunity to talk with Chris Young, winner of this season's Nashville Star. Check out what he had to say.