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Tom Short Kids Training Team Motivates Kids to Get Fit

July 15, 2016 10:28 a.m.

Eight-year-old Kolton Forlines can hardly contain his excitement about training for the annual Tom Short 5K trail run on Saturday, August 6.

“Running is his new favorite sport,” his mother Dusty Forlines said, after enrolling Kolton and his 11-year-old brother Kolby in the first kids training team to prepare for the race sponsored by Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Healthy Kids program. “He was so excited after the first night, he wanted to run more and we circled the park again,” his mother said.

The Forlines brothers are training with a group of 21 boys and girls from third to seventh grades in Shelbyville to run the 14th annual Tom Short trail run. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for boys and girls to learn about setting goals, developing character and staying healthy,” Laura Bollan, SBL Healthy Communities director and program coordinator, said. The eight-week session, which began June 14, is held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings on the trail run course.

The kids also learn about local and national landmarks during the training sessions and keep track of their progress in a special passport entitled “Discovering the Wonders of the World,” Bollan explained. “We wanted to make it fun and exciting for the kids,” she said. The group learned the history of the Shelbyville dam during its first session and repeatedly ran the distance of the dam’s height until they reached a mile.

In addition, the kids learn about healthy eating habits during each session. “Kolton reminded me that we’re only supposed to have pop on special occasions,” Mrs. Forlines said, impressed that her sons are taking the lessons to heart. “We also had fun trying the recipe for frozen fruit cubes at home,” she said.

“The kids are so enthusiastic and it’s so much fun. It’s a great program,” said SBL Healthy Communities intern Molly Yockey, who helps train the kids. Yockey, a Shelbyville native, has been involved with the race since it’s inceptions since her parents, Jerry and Wendy Yockey, organized the very first run 14 years ago in memory of local businessman and running enthusiast Tom Short. While there have been adult training teams to help people prepare for the race for years, this is the first year there is a training program for kids.

The race is unique because its very challenging, Yockey said. It’s run on a very scenic and hilly course, the General Dacey Trail in Shelbyville. “It’s one of the most competitive 5Ks in the area, but it’s also great for beginners,” Yockey said. There are three age divisions for 19 and under. A big splash event for all participants will be held at the Shelbyville Forest Park Pool after the race.

For more information about the youth training team, contact Laura Bollan, SBL Healthy Communities 217-345-6828. For more information on the Tom Short 5K Trail Run, or to register, go to

Photo cutline:

Eight-year-old Kolton Forlines poses with one of his Tom Short Kids Training Team leaders Laura Bollan at Forest Park in Shelbyville.