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St. Louis, MO — USA Track & Field (USATF) and The Hershey Company announce the launch of a national youth activity initiative as part of a new, seven-year partnership that features “Run Jump Throw,” an educational and learning program developed by USATF and Hershey.

The new program will introduce kids ages 7 through 12 to the basic skills of running, jumping and throwing through track and field. HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games, a youth track and field program launched in the 1970s, will transition to the national Run Jump Throw program in early 2015.

Launching in 2015, Run Jump Throw will use a curriculum developed by USATF. Kids around the country will have the opportunity to participate in fun, learning clinic-style events designed to build basic running, jumping and throwing skills and have fun exploring track and field. The program is the key piece of a larger partnership between USATF and Hershey that extends through 2020.

“This new program is a true partnership of two great organizations,” said Bernie Banas, who serves as Hershey’s Vice President of Customer Innovation and HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games board chair. “As Hershey looked at how to expand the reach and impact of our long-standing commitment to youth activity through track and field, we were inspired by the legacy of our founder, Milton Hershey and his commitment to youth development through learning. Through partnering with USA Track & Field, we look forward to creating more learning opportunities and expanding the reach of our track and field program and the sport as a whole.”

“We are thrilled to bring Hershey on board as a long-term partner and are excited about the work we will do together in the youth activity space,” USATF Chief Executive Officer Max Siegel said. “With Run Jump Throw, we are creating a foundational program for track and field as well as all activities and sports. Positively impacting culture and improving lives is something we aspire to achieve, and we couldn’t be more proud to have Hershey as our partner in this effort.

Siegel and Banas were joined by National Track & Field Hall of Famers Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Carl Lewis in making the announcement Thursday morning at the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) National Convention in St. Louis, MO.

The partnership with Hershey is USATF’s second major, new partnership announcement in the last 14 months. In February 2013, USATF announced Neustar as the sponsor of the .US National Road Racing Championships. The new partnerships mark USATF’s most active and successful sponsorship efforts in more than a decade.

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(Photo Source: PR Photos)

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