Teaching Rockford's youth about healthy living through running is the main goal behind the Rockford Wildcats, and the State Street Mile this Saturday is keeping them up and running.
For more than 30 years the State Street Mile has been happening in downtown Rockford, and it's all to help out Rockford's young runners. The Rockford Wildcats is a free cross country team for kids ages 3 to 18.
"It's mainly on ability levels, so we have some really young ones in some of the fast groups and some of the older ones that are in the not so fast groups, so we organize them together and take them on various group runs," Rockford Wildcats Coach Brandon Pierce says.
They run in many local parks, although the kids say the trails in Rock Cut are their most favorite to run.
"I like running in the woods because you run through puddles and mud and you get all dirty," 9-year-old Hannah Holmes says.
Coaches say the team has a great time running together but it's about teaching them to be healthy and setting their own personal running goals as well.
"A lot of times running is an individual sport as well, because you're always trying to get better than yourself the last time," Pierce says.
That's why some of the older kids like Sam Payne and Brady Marocco are excited for Saturday, so they can beat last year's time.
"Trying to get under 6 minutes," Sam says.
"6:46," says Brady.
If you are interested in being a part of either the State Street Mile or the Rockford Wildcats visit the websites: