Submitted by ING
MIAMI, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Gigi Fernandez will trade in her tennis racket for a pair of orange shoelaces on Sunday, January 27 as she partners with global financial services leader ING and the company's Run for Something Better program during the 2008 ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon.
Fernandez, who is Puerto Rico's first female professional athlete, is no stranger to running and physical fitness. During her celebrated career, the tennis legend won two Olympic Gold Medals and seventeen women's Grand Slam doubles titles. By joining forces with ING in Miami, she hopes to encourage more Miami area youth to fight childhood obesity and get active as part of the national ING Run for Something Better program.
"Although I've retired from professional tennis, I'm a firm believer in leading a healthy lifestyle and staying in shape," said Fernandez. "By being part of the ING Run for Something Better program in Miami, I hope to inspire thousands of children in South Florida to embrace physical activity and work towards setting their own personal fitness goals."
The ING Run for Something Better program advocates a healthy and active lifestyle in the fight against childhood obesity. Since 2003, the youth running program has successfully engaged thousands of children, parents and teachers in cities across the country where ING sponsors long-distance running events. In Miami, the successful program is organized by ING's race partner, PR Racing and the Fit Miami Foundation.
"We're delighted that Gigi has chosen to support the ING Run for Something Better program during this year's marathon. Her involvement in Miami will help spread our positive message about youth running and fitness," said Toby Hoden, chief marketing officer for ING. "This partnership represents another step in ING's ongoing commitment to ensure our children are getting a start towards leading a healthy life."
In the U.S., childhood obesity has become a serious health epidemic. The problem is even greater within the Hispanic community - where children are twice as likely to be overweight. Educating kids about the importance of living an active life is the cornerstone of the ING Run for Something Better program.
In Miami, Fernandez will be wearing a pair of ING's signature orange shoelaces, which are given to kids' fitness supporters who make a charitable contribution to the ING Run for Something Better program. ING's orange laces are available at www.orangelaces.com/miami.
On marathon race day, she will also join more than 2,500 Miami-Dade County middle school students expected to participate in the ING Run for Something Better "Final Mile" run. This event takes place at 11:00 a.m. on the official marathon race course in Downtown Miami.
Kids participating in ING Run for Something Better-funded programs have run enough miles to reach the moon -- about 238,000 miles. ING has donated more than $1,000,000 to youth running initiatives across the country and is committed to donating a total of $2,000,000 through 2010. Nearly $400,000 in Run for Something Better funds have gone to Miami schools since the program was introduced there in 2006.
About Gigi Fernandez
The former tennis professional won seventeen Grand Slam doubles titles and two Olympic Gold Medals. She reached the singles semi-finals of the 1994 Wimbledon Championships, and the singles quarter-finals twice at the U.S. Open. Fernandez is one of the most successful Puerto Rican born female athletes in history. She was voted Puerto Rican Female Athlete of the Century. Fernandez graduated cum laude from the University of South Florida and us currently pursing an MBA from Rollins Crummer School of Business.
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to more than 75 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of over 120,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.
In the U.S., the ING family of companies offer a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients which include 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 www.ing.com.
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 worldwide as a platform for helping kids get fit through free school-based running programs. ING's goal is to invest in the health of American children by donating $2 million to running programs to get 500,000 kids running by 2010. 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 www.orangelaces.com.
About The ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon(R)
The ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon(R), produced by PR Racing Miami, is South Florida's Premier Running Event hosting over 17,000 runners for a 3-day weekend of events. The race has been recognized as a Top Winter Destination Race by USA Today and Top 10 Races to Do by Runner's World Magazine. The event has provided an estimated economic impact of $81 million over six years supporting South Florida tourism, business and wellness. For more information on the event, go to www.INGMiamiMarathon.com.
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based retirement, investment management and life insurance operations of Netherlands-based ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING). In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, including retirement plans, IRA rollovers and transfers, stable value, institutional investment management, mutual funds, alternative investments, life insurance, employee benefits, fixed and indexed annuities and financial planning. ING U.S. holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 13 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://ing.us.
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