Kids Fun Run & Diaper Dash kicks off Fox Cities Marathon

Kids Fun Run & Diaper Dash kicks off Fox Cities Marathon Sept. 21, 2018 in Appleton.

APPLETON (WLUK) -- The Fox Cities Marathon weekend kicked-off Friday for the 28th time.

Before runners hit the pavement Saturday, it was left up to the little ones to cross the finish line first.

Toddlers could be seen trotting around and kids were racing for their medals. Babies went head-to-head in the Diaper Dash, some not taking their loss so well.

"It's just about teaching them that being active is a great way…it's a great lifestyle trait to build in their young years, and so seeing them taking pride in themselves is just super cool!" spokesperson for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon, Tara Perre said.

“It’s a nice way to get some energy out, and we do try to do as many family, you know, healthy things together, and then they'll sleep better tonight!" said first-time participant Sarah Mall Pavich.

The Fox Cities Marathon includes a 5K run/walk, leading up to the half and full marathons.

The annual event is in its 28th year, with the kids component added in its 19th year to be able to include the whole community.

"We know that from getting kids involved in programs early on that it’s really a good development component,” said Terence Zastrow 2nd VP for Guidance Life Insurance, a company sponsor of the marathon. “It gets them more active and involved in the community."

Organizers said at least 500 kids participate in the events, but there could be more this year.

"There's always people that make, kind of, a gameday decision, and they'll show up, so we could see upwards of 700 kids here tonight,” Perre said.

Runners at the Health and Wellness Expo were gearing up for the big races, as well.

Athletes were already picking up their goody bags and race packets, looking forward to the support they get from crowds cheering them on as they make their way through the Fox Cities.

The 5K run/walk will hit the ground running Saturday at 9 a.m. at Neenah's Riverside Park.

Sunday’s half and full marathons start at 7 a.m.

FOX 11's Good Day Wisconsin crew will be at Sunday's events.

You can get the full schedule here.

Drivers should checkout parking and traffic restrictions beforehand, and runners can take a look at the event's interactive course map here, too.

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