Adult runners weren’t the only ones on their marks Saturday as the Long Island Marathon weekend kicked off. Scores of the Island’s littlest runners also showed up, ready to race.
About 150 kids ages 11 and under participated Saturday morning in a Kids Fun Run at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale.
Children were divided into small groups based on age, starting with the “diaper dash” category for ages 3 and under.
The event was sponsored by McDonald’s on Long Island. Ronald McDonald led a silly group stretch before the run and provided playful sideline commentary as the junior runners giggled.
“He just takes over and the kids love it,” said McDonald’s spokeswoman Luciana Montouro.
Each runner got a medal at the finish line while their families and friends cheered. McDonald’s also provided penguin toys and apple slices.
Nicholas Chin, 6, of Syosset, said he was more excited about the chance to run than the medal.
“I got the same medal as last time,” he said.
His mother, Lisa Chin, said she’s registered to run in the half-marathon Sunday but wanted to give Nicholas and brother, Joseph, 2, a chance to participate as well.
“I think it really promotes a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
“But he also lives to run,” said her husband, Richard, as Nicholas sprinted across a field.
Ten-year-old twins Ashlee and Alicia Favata, of Wantagh, said they wanted to participate in the marathon weekend and the fun run was an easy way to get some exercise.
“I think it’s always fun to just get outside,” Ashlee said.
“It’s just fun,” Alicia added.
Hours earlier, the marathon weekend stepped off with a one-mile race that drew 90 participants and a 5-kilometer race that drew 522 runners.
Despite rain in the forecast for Sunday, organizers expect to top last year’s total of 8,800 participants. The 10k, half-marathon and full marathon will all begin at 8 a.m. on Lindbergh Boulevard.