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ING Names Winners of 'ING Run For Something Better' Student Essay Contest

San Francisco middle school students write about benefits of running; top essayists honored at ING RFSB 4k Run before ING Bay to Breakers 12k

SAN FRANCISCO, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial services leader ING today selected three winners of a student essay contest. The essay winners chronicled their accomplishments as participants in the ING Run For Something Better (ING RFSB) running program in San Francisco Unified School District public middle schools.

The following 7th grade students submitted the top essays:

  • Carmen Ma, Marina Middle School
  • Jason Nemerovski, Claire Lilienthal Alternative School
  • Prudence Sax, Claire Lilienthal Alternative School

The contest was open to students in 15 middle schools of San Francisco Unified School District who have been participating in the program and were challenged to run 156 miles over 12 weeks in their P.E. classes. All students are invited to run the ING RFSB 4k course at Golden Gate Park to complete their running program. This special kids' race, beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, will allow them to experience the thrill of crossing a finish line, just as the adults will in the ING Bay to Breakers 12k on Sunday, May 17. Transportation, lunches, T-shirts, finisher medals and entertainment are provided to students at the event.

"We understand that children are learning many positive lessons through ING Run For Something Better, not only about staying healthy and fit, but also about setting goals and working hard to achieve them," said Rhonda Mims, president, ING Foundation and senior vice president, Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs. "Sponsoring an essay contest is a great way to hear from the students in their very own words how they are benefiting from the program."

As part of the essay contest, students explained what they liked best about ING Run For Something Better. They were asked to describe how running makes them feel, what they learned about fitness and exercise, who inspired them to be healthy and how they planned to stay fit after completing the running program. ING staff selected the top three winners. The students will be recognized for their top essays in front of their peers at the ING RFSB 4k event on Thursday, May 14.

"For the past three years, ING Run For Something Better has served as a great complement to the ING Bay to Breakers 12k, as it introduces our youth to the sport of running as a healthy lifestyle option," said Josh Muxen, outreach development and professional athlete services manager, ING Bay to Breakers 12k. "Through this essay contest, we're learning that the program is having a positive influence on the students and their desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle."

ING Run For Something Better was introduced two years ago in San Francisco as part of ING's title sponsorship of the ING Bay to Breakers 12k. Last year, more than 1,500 middle school students took part in ING Run For Something Better, collectively running 234,000 miles. More than 2,000 students are expected to complete the program during race activities leading up to this year's ING Bay to Breakers 12k.

As the sponsor of a number of premier running events in the U.S., ING has been encouraging young people to get physically fit. ING developed ING Run For Something Better in 2003 as a way to give back to local communities. The national campaign provides funding for free, school-based running programs while teaching kids about the benefits of exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.

In the fall of 2006, ING also created the Orange Laces program -- a public fundraising campaign that encourages everyone to join the cause. When someone donates $10 or more, ING gives them a pair of orange shoelaces to show they are "tied" to kids' fitness. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from Orange Laces donations go directly to ING Run For Something Better fitness programs.

Since the initiative began, more than 47,000 children have participated in programs funded by ING Run For Something Better. Young people in these programs have collectively run more than 1.3 million miles. In San Francisco, ING Run For Something Better and the Orange Laces campaign has contributed over $260,000 to fund running programs in San Francisco Unified School District.

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About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 125,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 29 million customers across the nation.

ING's diversity management philosophy and commitment to workforce diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer.

For more information, visit

About the ING Run For Something Better

The ING Run For Something Better is a fundraising campaign that supports community and school-based youth running programs. Linked to ING's long-distance race sponsorships, the program was created to introduce kids to the benefits of sport, a habit of physical fitness, and a healthy lifestyle that prevents conditions such as childhood obesity. In today's world of poor nutrition and less-active lifestyles -- which may contribute to childhood obesity -- ING is using its position as a sponsor of marathons as a platform for helping kids get fit through free, school-based running programs. Nationally, ING has committed over $2.5 million to fund grants and school-based running programs through ING Run For Something Better. Since 2006, over a half a million dollars has been raised by individual donors through the orange laces program. ING has also created a special charitable fund to encourage others to support the cause by making their own contribution. When someone donates $10 or more to the ING Run For Something Better, ING will recognize their contribution by giving them a special pair of orange shoelaces to wear showing that they are "tied" to supporting kids' fitness. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of orange laces go to the ING Run For Something Better fitness programs.

For more information about the orange laces, go to

About the ING Foundation

The ING Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on sustainable programs in the areas of financial literacy, children's education and diversity.

For more information, visit

About ING Bay to Breakers 12K

Now in its 98th year, the ING Bay to Breakers 12K is one of the world's largest and oldest footraces, held annually in San Francisco, Calif. The name reflects the course, which takes tens of thousands of participants from the northeast end of downtown San Francisco, near The Embarcadero (the "bay" side of the city), to the west end of the city and the "breakers" of Ocean Beach. The 7.46-mile (12 km) race features world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners and "fun-loving" folks out for a great day of running and walking through San Francisco.

For more information, visit

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Rhonda Mims

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