CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - "If you're sitting on the couch thinking I'd love to do a run, I'd love to learn how," Louis Yuhasz of Louie's Kids, said, "We're probably the softest landing you're going to find."
Yuhasz leads the Louie's Kids Family Race Club where local families are training for the 39th annual Cooper River Bridge Run.
The 10k is the last step of a 12-week program aimed at physical fitness and healthy living for the entire family.
For kids like 11-year-old Lillie Peterson, training side-by-side with loved ones makes working out worthwhile.
"It helps to know that I'm not the only one trying to push myself," Lillie said "I've realized we're trying to eat healthier and trying to make a lifestyle change. It makes me feel better to know that they're not just d ropping me off and going to eat Cheetos or something."
The Louie's Kids Family Race Club features a program mix of running intermingled with cross training. Over 12 weeks, families also learn about nutrition and forming healthy habits.
"We train with the volunteers and each week they push you," Lillie said, "but they do a very good job of it and make sure you're doing the right thing."
Yuhasz said program results are most easily seen as families increase their speed over weeks of training.
"The timed mile is probably the most significant way we can communicate to families their success," Yuhasz said. "They can see themselves that they're running faster...and they can see it in the numbers."
Yuhasz said the workouts are integral for overall health, but it's the core ingredient of this Louie's Kids program that makes a lasting impact.
"It does take a family," Yuhasz said, adding that the family can take on many shapes and sizes. 'Family can be made of a mom, a dad, an aunt or an uncle. We've had teachers that brought students for the entire length of this program.
That support will continue on Saturday, as families complete the Bridge Run as a team.
"We start out as a team, we run as a team," Yuhasz said. "We feel really good about the race we're going into this weekend."
"I'm just excited to reach the finish line and know I've done this," Lillie said of Saturday's 10k. "I can push myself. I used to just be so scared to just do a mile and now that sounds really easy."
Louie's Kids Family Race Club is set to begin an 8-week training course for a 5k following the Cooper River Bridge Run.
For more information, visit www.louieskids.org.