The Gasparilla Distance Classic Association announced today that throughout this week and throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties, 900+ pairs of Nike Running Shoes will be distributed to all 2009 Let Me Play Kids Running Program participants.

On Thursday, February 12 at 9 a.m., Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Brooks will distribute Nikes to 60 participating kids at Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School and on Friday, February 13, at 1:30 p.m., Mayor Pam Iorio and Police Chief Stephen Hogue will do the same with 200 kids at Rampello Downtown Partnership School.

The Let Me Play Kids Running Program, a joint partnership between the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, City of Tampa and Tampa Metro YMCA, is funded by Nike, Kellogg’s, Publix Super Markets and a matching funds grant through the Hillsborough County Children’s Board.

First introduced in 2007 to combat youth obesity and introduce running as a lifestyle activity, this year’s Let Me Play Kids have been working and training together to run the final two miles of the 2009 Gasparilla Marathon on Sunday, March 1. The eight-week training kicked-off in January. On a weekly basis, the YMCA and physical education-staffed program has featured fun activities that have gradually built the kid’s endurance and stamina.

Prior to running the final two miles of the 2009 Gasparilla Marathon on Sunday, March 1, the 900+ Let Me Play Kids will work as volunteers along four miles of Bayshore Boulevard and while giving back to the Tampa Bay community, will experience first-hand what it looks and feels like to run 26.2-miles.

Both schools are in Tampa and located at the following addresses:

Rampello Downtown Partnership School, 802 East Washington Street
Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, 11602 North 15th Street

The Gasparilla Marathon & Half Marathon and Publix Super Markets Gasparilla Distance Classic are produced in cooperation with the City of Tampa and the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization that raises funds for Bay Area Youth Charitable Organizations.