DOVER -- The Run for Home Road Runners Club will launch a training program focusing on kids and families Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Tuscarawas County YMCA in Dover.

The annual training program is designed to help prepare runners and walkers for the Union Hospital Run for Home events Sunday, April 18.

"In our continuing efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle, we wanted to use this year's training program to reach out to children and their families," explained Run for Home Road Runners Club president Matt Ritzert.

The training programs will be designed to help children and families begin a running, walking or exercise program. Programs will be held every other Saturday morning at the YMCA in Dover starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30.

Jeremy Klaserner, a physical therapist at Union Hospital's Healthplex, will be the speaker for the first meeting entitled, "Set your goal and go!" Each session will feature a presentation about running and fitness followed by a group walk and run around the YMCA neighborhood. The training sessions will follow the "Kids Run the Nation" curriculum developed by the Road Runners Club of America. Topics will include training tips, nutritional information and goal setting.

The Run for Home Road Runners Club is one of eight organizations nationwide to receive grants from the RRCA to promote kids running and fitness. In addition to the training program, the $500 grant will also help the Run for Home Road Runners Club stage a kids only two-mile road race May 8.

"We will encourage all the kids participating in the training program to participate in the Run for Home one-mile fun run on April 18 and then continue their training to participate in the two-mile race in May," explained Ritzert. "We want to stress, however, that everyone is welcome to the training programs, whether or not they plan to run in a race."

All children age 14 and under attending the training programs will receive a small Kids Run the Nation booklet and other training materials. Children attending four or more of the sessions will also receive a free long-sleeve "Kids Run the Nation" T-shirt. There is no charge for the training programs which are open to the public. The Run for Home Training Program is designed to be a family activity.

"We want to encourage parents to come with their children, participate in the program, and then join us for the run and walk," Ritzert said.

The program is free and open to everyone. In addition to the program Jan. 30, training sessions will take place Feb. 13, Feb. 27, March 12, March 27 and April 10. All sessions will be held at the YMCA in Dover and begin at 8:30 a.m.

The Union Hospital Run for Home will be Sunday, April 18. In addition to the one-mile fun run, events include a half-marathon road race, team relay, five-mile walk, and kids run for children age five and under. To learn more about the Run for Home and how to register for one of the events, visit www.runforhome.org.