The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, reminds Indiana’s educators that the deadline to register for the 2018 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health and the 500 Festival KidsFit Program is Friday, October 6.

The 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, is a free program that immerses Indiana 4th grade students in the world of the Indianapolis 500 and 500 Festival, exploring their important place in Indiana’s history and culture. The Education Program takes place during the spring and is open to all Indiana 4th grade classrooms. The 500 Festival provides teachers registered for the Education Program with engaging lessons and classroom materials, for free. More than a field trip, the Education Program is a combination of in-class curriculum – based on Indiana Academic Standards – and an optional Study Trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or a Mobile Study Trip to your school, bringing the classroom lessons to life. Study Trips and Mobile Trips are also available at no cost to schools. Fourth grade teachers can register their classroom HERE.

“The 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, is a tremendous amalgamation of our mission and our capability to execute an event or program at a significant scale,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Leveraging the community event of the Indy 500 to provide a fun, exciting and meaningful curriculum for 27,000 4th graders around the state of Indiana is not only in line with our mission, but a great match for our partners at the Indy 500 and IU Health.”

In conjunction with the Education Program, and in an effort to fight childhood obesity, the 500 Festival KidsFit Program encourages Indiana youth to be more active and pursue a healthy lifestyle. KidsFit helps spark interest in walking and running, and encourages fitness-related activities among Indiana youth and families.

Teachers are provided with the KidsFit curriculum, which meets the Indiana Department of Education’s Indiana State Academic Standards for Health and Physical Education. Program participants complete weekly lessons and run or walk one mile every week. The goal is for students to run 13.1 miles over the course of the program - the equivalent of a half marathon. Basic items such as jump ropes, cones, and stopwatches are needed to perform the weekly activities.

“The KidsFit Program is another extension of our mission in the areas of youth fitness,” added Bryant. “The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is our largest fundraiser, and as the producers of one of the nation’s largest half marathons, our mission also focuses on getting Indianapolis and Indiana healthy and active. That starts at a young age, and the KidsFit Program plays a key role in our youth fitness initiatives.”

The KidsFit Program will culminate when participants, grades 4-6, are invited to Indianapolis to finish the final 3.1 mile along the 500 Festival 5K course. Students will finish at the same finish line as the 35,000 participants who run the Mini-Marathon and 5K each year, complete with grandstands filled with cheering fans and families. For a select number of schools, the KidsFit Program culminates with a Mobile Run hosted at their school. The Mobile Runs are produced by the 500 Festival and are offered at no cost to schools. The Mobile Runs provide a fun opportunity for students to celebrate the conclusion of the program and their accomplishments. Teachers interested in registering for this program can do so HERE.

There is no cost to participate in the Education Program or KidsFit Program, but each classroom must register before Friday, Oct. 6 to receive the updated curriculum and be eligible for study trips, mobile trips, Final 3.1 Run and Mobile Runs.

To learn more about the Education Program, visit https://www.500festival.com/youth/education-program/overview/, read the digital brochure, or register your classroom today.

To learn more about the 500 Festival KidsFit Program, visit https://www.indymini.com/p/kidsrunning/kidsfit, read the digital brochure, or register your classroom today.

Support of the 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, is provided by: Indiana University Health, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 500 Festival Foundation, Methodist Health Foundation, Regions Bank, Verizon IndyCar Series, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC., and Caresource.

Support of the 500 Festival KidsFit Program is provided by: Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Sheild, AON, PNC Bank, the 500 Festival Foundation, and Meijer.