WILMINGTON -- It's a simple sport, but running is also vital part of the major sports such as soccer, football, basketball and baseball.
Shawn Mckee, Ashley High School's cross country coach, is used to coaching kids on the finer points of running, so teaching the basics is something McKee feels he has to do.
"Most of the time, kids don't understand if they lean over, that they're causing trouble for their knees and they don't understand they have to have good posture." explained McKee
Mckee started the New Hanover County Youth Running Club last summer as a way to keep kids ages 5-18 in shape over the summer and to attract more of them to the sport. Last year, 15 kids participated in the club and that number increased to more than 60 young runners this summer.
"It's exciting to see, I think it's only going to make the kids in this area faster and help them in other sports." said McKee
There are no dues or fees associated with the club, so this group is open to everyone.
"Most camps cost money, I thought this was a good way to give them something to do for free and give them a safe environment to run in." explained McKee.
Members of the club practice three days per week for approximately an hour and a half. In addition to the practices, eight of the high school-aged runners competed in the 30th Annual Tri-Span Race last weekend.
"I did my first 10K, which I never raced in a 10K before, and as a team we're trying to run as much as we can before cross country starts in the fall." said Brien Lancaster, a member of the New Hanover County Youth Running Club
The young runners will complete the summer activities associated with the club with timed trials on Aug. 11.