School Running Grant Program

The Gulf Winds School Grant program is designed to help teachers and parent volunteers develop a youth running program at every local school and improve and expand existing programs. The emphasis of this program is on running or fast walking to help students develop a love for exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Gulf Winds Track Club has awarded more than 100 grants to local school running groups.

All area schools, including adjacent county grade schools, are eligible to apply for the grant for programs that emphasize participation rather than just competitive running. The program should have students running at least twice per week for several weeks outside of regular school hours, and all children should be encouraged to participate in many of the local community racing events generally held every weekend.

Running programs must be open to all students and cannot discriminate in any way. One-time events are not considered.

There is a lot of flexibility with the grant money to purchase incentive awards (shirts, tokens, ribbons, certificates, etc.), tracking equipment, hydration supplies…

We encourage you to be creative in your program development so that it encourages all children to get involved at some level. Give them recognition for their accomplishments such as shirts for completing 26.2 miles (marathon distance) or for finishing an “ultra” distance of 100 miles, ribbons for increments of 10, 25, and 50 miles… You can create social media accounts for parents to post pictures of themselves and their children walking and running together. (Be sure to get approval from your principal.) You can create teams that compete for weekly mileage or give the kids special prizes/recognition for completing personal monthly mileage challenges. You can post supplemental materials for students about hydration, stretching, and using healthy food as fuel for a run/walk.

Grant funds may not be used to cover any dues, team uniforms, race entry fees, individual runner sponsorships, or stipends for the program director.

Schools are awarded one grant ($300) per calendar year, and applications may be submitted anytime during the year.

Grant Application

For additional information/questions, Amy O’Kelley,


See a success story video of  Roberts Elementary!