2014 IRONMAN Arizona finisher and blind veteran Michael Somsan
kicked off fun run
UnitedHealthcare sponsored special-needs and physically challenged
youth participating in IRONKIDS event
TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nearly 550 young athletes participated in the third UnitedHealthcare
IRONKIDS® Tempe Fun Run today at Tempe Beach Park.
Michael Somsan, a visually impaired IRONMAN triathlete from Phoenix and
mascot Dr. Health E. Hound kicked-off the fun run, joined by Joseph
Gaudio, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona. Joining them
were State Representative Juan Mendez and State Senator Andrew Sherwood.
Athletes ages 3-15 ran along portions of the IRONMAN Arizona triathlon
presented by Waste Management course that begins the next day.
UnitedHealthcare provided complimentary admission to children with
special needs and physical challenges to encourage participation. Each
athlete received a race bib, T-shirt, goodie bag and finisher medal.
Somsan, a U.S. Army veteran, is a practicing attorney in Phoenix and
completed his first IRONMAN event in Arizona last year.
“The IRONKIDS fun runs give our community the opportunity to have fun
together, and begin their day being active and healthy,” said Gaudio.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Michael Somsan in
helping young people with special needs accomplish the goal of
completing an IRONKIDS fun run.”
This is the fourth year UnitedHealthcare is supporting IRONKIDS as part
of the company’s commitment to help stem the rising tide of childhood
obesity through healthy lifestyles. The UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS 2015
Series features nine one-mile fun runs and a dip-and-dash.
“I would like to thank IRONKIDS and UnitedHealthcare for working with
the City of Tempe to bring the 2015 IRONKIDS event back to our
community,” said Mark Mitchell, Mayor of Tempe. “We’re proud to be the
host for events like the UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS Fun Run, which work
to raise awareness about obesity and help children develop healthy
Obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980,
with nearly one in every three children being overweight or obese,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Children from low-income and low-education households are three-times
more likely to suffer from obesity, which is a leading risk factor for
diabetes, heart disease and many cancers, according to America’s Health
Rankings®, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s
health on a state-by-state basis. Arizona ranks 17th in the
country with nearly 27 percent of adults and 10 percent of youth
estimated to be obese.
“We are thrilled to have a partner in UnitedHealthcare to sponsor these
youth events as part of our IRONMAN series,” said Carola Ross, chief
sales officer for IRONMAN. “The opportunity the IRONKIDS fun runs offer
young athletes is tremendous, as these races can be the catalyst for a
lifetime of exercise and healthy living.”
After being acquired from the Sara Lee Corporation, which owned the
event series since 1985, IRONKIDS® launched in
2009 with nine events in the IRONKIDS® National
Triathlon Series. Since the inaugural year, IRONKIDS® has
seen more than 60,000 participants and has grown to more than 60 events
worldwide including races in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North
America. The brand represents a multi-dimensional approach to creating
positive experiences for athletes, families and communities, as well as
embodies achievement and determination while fostering self-esteem. The
IRONKIDS® mission is to inspire and motivate through the
sport to live an active, positive and healthy lifestyle. For more
information visit www.ironkids.com.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live
healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting
consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships
with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health
benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members,
retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries,
and contracts directly with more than 850,000 physicians and care
professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide.
UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:
UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more
information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com
or follow @myUHC on Twitter.
Buddy Castellano, 952-931-4775