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Marathoning and volunteering: Lessons learned from Students Run Philly Style

Jessica Boyer, MSW MPH1, Brenda Seals, PhD, MPH2, Jenne Johns, MPH3, and Heather McDanel, MPH3. (1) Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, 260 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, 215.985.2518, jessica@phmc.org, (2) Department of Public Health, Temple University, 1700 N. Broad St., Room 304, Philadelphia, PA 19122, (3) National Nursing Centers Consortium, 260 South Broad Street, 18th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Recognizing the growing epidemic of youth obesity, the National Nursing Centers Consortium developed the Students Run Philly Style (SRPS) program based on the successful Students Run LA program. Volunteer adult running leaders are recruited to work with student runners undertaking a training program with the ultimate goal of completing the Philadelphia marathon. The success of the program relies heavily on the level commitment of volunteer running leaders, which in turn, requires strong organizational oversight, planning and mechanisms for responding to problems. This research study focuses on the experiences of the running leaders during the first running season which began in March 2005 and ended in November 2005. The goal was to identify benefits and drawbacks to being running leaders, ways to extend longevity of running leaders and ways to improve the SRPS program. The research design consisted of two focus groups and a supplement of individual interviews conducted with running leaders. These focus groups were held from December 2005 to January 2006 following the conclusion of the first running season of SRPS. In addition to the qualitative interview, participants were asked to complete a demographic survey and answer questions referring to their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding running. Transcripts from the focus groups and interviews were thematically analyzed. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Preliminary results show an overall positive experience of running leaders and a high percentage indicated they will participate again, additionally improvements for the program were presented to program directors.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

New Directions in Public Health Leadership Development

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA