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Children lined up at the starting line to run a race at the ECRC Fun Run 2019.

Published July 2, 2019

Early Childhood Research Center “Fun Run” engages local community

Success of annual event provides support for ECRC programs and services

The Fisher-Price Endowed Early Childhood Research Center (ECRC) hosted its 6th Annual Kids Fun Run and Obstacle Course on June 15 at UB Stadium. “The Fun Run is one of the few running/obstacles events tailored specifically for young children in the Western New York area.” said X. Christine Wang, director of ECRC in the Graduate School of Education. A record number of 185 children participated in the event.

The Fun Run offers developmentally appropriate running distances and obstacles for children ages 1–10.  The races begin with a 50-yard toddler dash and ends with a half-mile run for children age 7 years and up.  The obstacle course consists of 12 fun and physical challenges including the Lilly Pad Leap and the Ladder to Success. All participants receive an official race t-shirt and a gold completion medal at the finish.

In addition to effectively engaging UB and the local community, the Fun Run has become the premier fundraising event for ECRC. It generated $10,000 in 2019, almost 10 times the revenue of the 2014 inaugural event. “The total funds raised over the years have contributed to ECRC’s growth and financial stability,” said Wang.  “This stability has allowed the ECRC team to make substantial improvements to the center’s physical space, including a full renovation of the playground and outdoor learning environment in 2015, and office and classroom space improvements in 2017 and 2018.”

“The proceeds from the 2019 Fun Run will be mainly used to renovate a college classroom space with child-friendly furniture, toys and educational supplies,” said Corinne Eggleston, associate director of ECRC. The new classroom will be occupied by a pre-K group starting in fall 2019. This effort will help meet a growing enrollment demand for ECRC programs and services, and address the center’s space shortage. “The new classroom space will allow for the additional hiring of GSE students and expand our capacity to support student and faculty research,” said Wang.

When the Fun Run began in 2014, it was originally planned as a small fundraising event for ECRC families and close friends. Since that time, over 800 children have participated and the Fun Run has become a beloved community event with many loyal families attending annually. In 2019, the number of participating children doubled from 2014, and the event was supported this year by 35 community sponsors.

The ECRC is looking forward to next year’s Fun Run, as is 4-year-old Tyler, who said at the conclusion of this year’s event, “Mom, how many days until the next Fun Run?”

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