USATF holds first RunJumpThrow program adapted for youth with disabilities

September 21, 2017
Allison Hoit

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — In collaboration with Lakeshore Foundation and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), USA Track & Field will hold its first RunJumpThrow (RJT) event tailored to meet the needs of children with disabilities at Lakeshore on Friday, September 15.

With 13% of school-aged children having a disability, the addition of adaptive components integrated into the core RJT curriculum will increase the inclusion of participants with disabilities in physical activity.

More than 300 students, ages 7-14, from across the Birmingham area are expected to attend, representing six schools and a variety of disabilities. Special guests include 1984 Olympic gold medalist sprinter Willie Smith, 1976 Olympic gold medalist diver Jennifer Chandler and Paralympic gold medalist basketball player Mary Allison Cook.

“Being physically active provides the cornerstone for a healthy lifestyle, and RunJumpThrow now has the capability to teach all kids the importance and fun of track & field, no matter their athletic ability,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “USATF is grateful for the opportunity to coordinate efforts with Lakeshore and NCHPAD in this endeavor.”

“We are pleased to work with USA Track & Field and The Hershey Company on this first-ever, inclusive RunJumpThrow event,” said Lakeshore president Jeff Underwood. “NCHPAD, a program of the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative, provided adaptations to this national program to create a curriculum that is inclusive for all children across the U.S. We are especially proud that this inclusive program will get youth with disabilities excited about physical activity which leads to a more healthy, active, and independent lifestyle.”

“As an avid runner for the last 45 years, there is no better sport than track and field for promoting inclusion,” said James H. Rimmer, PhD, director of NCHPAD. “The individualized nature of the sport, and the multiple events for children of every shape and size, makes this a truly unique coming out event for all the world to see how inclusion works in one of the oldest sports known to humankind on the most accessible health and fitness campus in the country. ”

Children will be led through RunJumpThrow stations with supervisors prepared to modify any activity to meet their specific needs, such as partial and total visual and hearing loss.

RunJumpThrow (RJT), USATF’s flagship youth activity program partnership with The Hershey Company, introduces children to the foundational skills of running, jumping, and throwing. The program has positively impacted over 500,000 children in 49 states and several countries since its establishment in 2015.

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About RunJumpThrow
USA Track & Field and Hershey teamed up to create RunJumpThrow, a hands-on learning program that gets kids excited about physical activity by introducing them to the basic running, jumping and throwing skills through track and field.

RunJumpThrow (RJT) provides children ages 7-12 a fun chance to learn and practice these skills, which are the foundations of track & field nearly every other sport.
For more information regarding RunJumpThrow, visit

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit