running MATES was established by dedicated individuals who are committed to creating opportunities for fitness and friendship for children who have struggled to participate in team sports. We want these children to have the opportunity to participate in running MATES wherever they live. If you are interested in bringing running MATES to your community, there are several steps you need to take.
First, check to see whether a chapter exists in your area. Your community may already be served by an existing chapter. If this is the case, please contact your local chapter to discuss the opportunities that are available.
If a chapter does not serve your community, please consider starting a new chapter in your area.
The following components are essential to establish a running MATES chapter:
Bring running MATES to your community!
A coach (or a pair of coaches) is needed to lead the 60-minute session per week for a 10-week season at the program site, which could be a school or recreation center. The coach will help with participant registration, organization, and delivery of the running MATES curriculum, including classroom activities and training runs. You may decide to be the coach yourself or you may decide to recruit a separate coach.
Volunteers are essential to making your running MATES chapter fun and safe. Volunteer participate in classroom activities related to the running MATES curriculum and run with the children on their training runs. Partnering with a college, high school or existing volunteer organization is a great idea for insuring that you have a sufficient number of volunteers. Depending on your location, a ratio of 1 volunteer/2 children may be necessary for safety.
The program site should include running trails or paths that allow for training distances up to 2.75 miles. A track is not a good option for running MATES because it does not provide the distance and variety of routes that longer trails or paths can provide. The program site should also include a classroom or other area appropriate for delivering the running MATES curriculum.
The expenses of a running MATES chapter vary, depending on existing assets, program site fees and race registration fees. Expenses may include lesson materials (paper, pencils, printing, etc.), program site rental fees, race registration fees, t-shirt costs, toe tokens, marketing materials, first aid supplies. running MATES chapters may charge a registration fee or get sponsors to cover these expenses. A detailed description of program fees is available.