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ING and Fit Miami Foundation Name Winners of 'ING Run For Something Better' Student Essay Contest

MIAMI, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial services leader ING and the Fit Miami Foundation today selected three winners of a student essay contest that celebrates their success in the ING Run For Something Better running program in Miami-Dade County public middle schools.

    The top three essays were submitted by the following students:
    -- Kasey Gonzalez, South Dade Middle School, 7th grade
    -- Christian Rivera, Palm Springs Middle School, 8th grade
    -- Miriam Rose Singer, Palmetto Middle School, 7th Grade

The contest was open to students in nearly 30 Miami-Dade County middle schools who have been participating in the program and were challenged to run 25 miles over 15 weeks in their P.E. classes. All students are invited to complete the "final mile" of their cumulative marathon at the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon, which takes place Sunday, January 25 at 11:00 a.m. The kids will run a special race and get the thrill of crossing the same finish line as the adults. Transportation, lunches, t-shirts, finisher medals, and entertainment are provided to students at the event.

"We know that children are learning many positive lessons through our 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. "Holding an essay contest was a fantastic way to hear more about what the kids in Miami-Dade were getting out of the program, in their very own words."

The ING Run For Something Better was introduced four years ago in Miami-Dade County, when ING became title sponsor of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon. The program is managed locally through a partnership with PR Racing, LLC and the Fit Miami Foundation.

Last year, more than 11,000 Miami-Dade County middle school students took part in the ING Run For Something Better program, with 3,300 finishing their final mile on race day. More than 3,500 students are expected to complete the program at this year's ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon.

As part of the essay contest, students explained what they liked best about the 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 their marathon.

The top three winners were selected by ING and Fit Miami Foundation staff. Each are invited to attend a special ING Run For Something Better school appreciation luncheon on Friday, January 23, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Perricone's Marketplace in Miami.

"For the past four years, the ING Run For Something Better has been a terrific complement to our physical education curriculum," said Dr. Jayne Greenberg, executive director of physical education and health literacy for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "Through this essay contest, we're realizing that many parents and family members help inspire these students to stay fit. That's exciting news, which tells us the program can be a positive influence both in the classroom and at home."

As the sponsor of a number of premier running events in the U.S., ING has been encouraging young people to get physically fit while helping Americans be more fiscally fit.

ING developed the 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 token 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 35,000 children have participated in programs funded by the ING Run For Something Better. Young people in these programs have collectively run more than one million miles. In Miami, the ING Run For Something Better and Orange Laces campaign has contributed over $400,000 to Miami-Dade County public middle schools.

You can learn more about ING Run For Something Better and Orange Laces by visiting

    Press inquiries:
    Joe Loparco
    ING Americas
    Office: 860.580.2677
    Cell:  860.462.6525

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 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 130,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.

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 14 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit

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