has much to celebrate at this weekend's 25th Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon.He
was one of the race's founders. "The marathon is for the community," said Kaman, 61, a professor and assistant dean at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
"It's a way to demonstrate the importance of health and fitness." In 1978, Kaman and fellow runner and colleague Bob Patton thought a marathon could help promote the newly founded Institute for Human Fitness.
..."As we were getting started, we didn't have a facility or much of a budget," recalled Kaman, the institute's director from 1978 until it closed in 1988.
"We wanted something that would identify us with health and fitness."
...Kaman has served on the board ever since.He's also been the official marathon and 10K starter and the finish line announcer every year except 1981, when he ran the marathon.
"I did all the work leading up to race day.Then I put on my running shoes and ran," said Kaman
, who has completed four other marathons, as well."It's the only marathon I finished in under four hours." Kaman
also helped start Cowtown for Kids
, the marathon's school program.He served on the Fort Worth Independent School District's Adopt-A-School board, helping to build a partnership among the program, the Fort Worth schools and the marathon.
Cowtown for Kids
has been one of the event's most successful programs.
The concept came from an Oakhurst Elementary School
teacher who encouraged his
fifth-grade class to run the 10K in 1987.The following year, the school program's inaugural year, approximately 300 students participated.
Last year, 2,710 children from area schools participated in Cowtown's 5K.Another 368 ran the 10K.The kids represented 88 area schools.
"It was one of those right-place, right-time kind of things," Kaman
said of the Cowtown schools program.
Over the years, the marathon has added a fall coaches meeting to offer training programs, training logs and tips on transportation.Runners received shoe tags with the words "ready, set, go" just for signing up.The marathon also awarded 10- and 25-mile club shoe tags as incentives.All race participants receive finishers' medals.
The marathon added the Dasani Challenge this year.