Yoga Marathon for Louie's Kids in ninth year

Francesca Dilling of Mount Pleasant was one of nearly 150 people who participated in a previous Yoga Marathon, which raised a record $25,000 for the locally-based childhood obesity nonprofit Louie's Kids.

The obstacles facing this nation in regards to the childhood obesity epidemic and the resulting escalating health crisis are underscored by the work of locally based Louie's Kids.

First, the nonprofit, founded and led by Louis Yuhasz of Sullivan's Island, raised money and sent children to relatively expensive, and intensive, camps to receive expert counseling. The approach, however, not only reached too few kids, but the follow-through, or lack thereof, at home often doomed them to return to overeating and inactivity.

Then Louie's Kids created Fit Kids, modeled after the counseling at camps but offered in local schools using local professionals and staff in a multiweek after-school program. It worked for most while the students attended Fit Kids but often couldn't be sustained after the program was over.

Once again, it goes back to parents and the habits at home and of peers. Many, unfortunately and unbelievably, aren't willing to recognize the problem and do anything about it.

Louie's Kids then ushered in Run Buddies, a mentoring program that sought local volunteers to work with kids in local schools by walking or running with them. As that program tried to fledge, the local and national headlines of molestation by Skip ReVille and Jerry Sandusky scared off many would-be mentors and some parents.

While Yuhasz is frustrated and the nonprofit is basically throwing in the towel on its own programing efforts, he remains undaunted in his mission to find some sustainable way to help overweight and obese children.

"I'm not giving up, and I'm not going anywhere," said Yuhasz, adding that parents must take obesity "as seriously as if their children had cancer."

Yuhasz, whose strength is keeping the issue in the public eye, and Louie's Kids are redirecting efforts to help children and their parents via its website, continued awareness and funding partnerships between Louie's Kids and like-minded causes for programming, such as an after-school fitness program.

As with most worthy accomplishments in life, it takes cash to get things done. And one of Louie's Kid's signature fund- and awareness-raising events takes place this weekend.

The ninth annual Whole Foods Market Yoga Marathon will start at noon Saturday in Marion Square and include local yoga teachers taking turns leading the crowd, typically 80 to 100 adults and kids, through 108 sun salutations.

Register to raise money via the yoga marathon or pay $20 to register at www.louieskids.org.

Locally based surfing film production company Thomas Brothers Productions will debut its second film, "Look to the Tropics," at a free event 7 and 9 p.m. Friday at the Tides Hotel on Folly Beach.

The film, which will be shown on a blow-up screen on the beach, features local surfers Kyle Busey and Glenn Tanner, among others.

Find out more at www.thomasbrothersblog.com.

It's one of those "Can you believe it's been 20 years?" moments.

The IOP Connector Run has been held on the first Saturday in October ever since the Isle of Palms connector bridge, officially the Clyde Moultrie Dangerfield Highway, was finished.

And while it's gone through many incarnations, efforts are being made to make this year's race, starting at 8 a.m. Saturday on Palm Boulevard on the island, a celebration, with a complimentary beer garden and live music by PlaneJane.

The event benefits child abuse prevention and other child-related programs. Registration fee is $35.

Find out more at www.ioprun.com.

The 2nd annual River Otter 10k Trail Relay will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Awendaw Passage of the Palmetto Trail in Awendaw, starting at the kayak launch at the end of Rosa Green Road. But you'll need a relay buddy to compete in the all-male, all-female or coed divisions.

Participants will run about a 5K, complete a task (explained at the start of the race) and run back to the start to tag your teammate. Your teammate then will run the same route and complete a task as well. If someone doesn't complete a task, the team will be disqualified.

Cost is $20 per person. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the river otters at the S.C. Aquarium.

For more info, go to eagle-endurance.com.

The S.C. Autism Society will hold its Lowcountry Strides for Autism, a 5K fun walk, at 9 a.m. Saturday at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

Go to scautism.org/strides.