Saturday morning was dreary and rainy, but that didn’t stop more than a 150 runners from lacing up their running shoes and putting feet to pavement during the 14th Annual La Porte County Family YMCA 5K/10K.
The Calumet Striders Gold Cup Race.race was held at Soldiers’ Memorial Park in La Porte and people of all age groups competed in the race Saturday morning, the youngest being 8 years old and the oldest being 74 years old.
“This is the 14th year we’ve been doing this race, which includes a 5K and a 10K,” said Erika Kozlowski, the Healthy Living Coordinator for the YMCA. “The race is a fundraiser for the YMCA’s scholarship program, which gives families financial assistance so that they may participate in programs they may not able to afford otherwise.”
The YMCA’s Annual Campaign raises money throughout the year to provide support to families around the community. For 2017, the La Porte Family YMCA has a fundraising goal of $100,000 to be dispersed throughout the community.
“A lot of people may not have the funds to do the programs that we offer,” Kozlowski said. “We have events like the 5K and 10K so we can help families in need and they can benefit from a more healthy lifestyle for themselves and their children.”
The runners in the 5K were on their mark at exactly 9:00 a.m, while the runners in the 10K were rearing to go at 9:20 a.m. When the clock started ticking, runners made their way through the course: through Pine Lake, scenic La Porte County and then making their way back through Soldiers’ Memorial Park where the finish line was waiting for them at Cummings Lodge.
Over 150 people ran and raised money for a good cause, and after crossing the finish line were greeted with hugs from their friends and family and a spread of delicious healthy and not-so-healthy food.
Volunteers at the event were quick to post the results of the race, which were quickly swarmed with people looking to see if they ran good race. Awards were handed out to the first, second and third place in each age group ranging from 8-74, plus the Overall Male and Female winners to the two people who finished first.
“I’m really excited; I won my age group,” said Abigail Igarta of Crown Point, who had a finishing time of 57:05:01. “This is my first year joining the Calumet Striders and I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon, so I’m excited.”
Igarta is no stranger to running for a good cause. When she competes in the Chicago Marathon later this year, she will be running for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which benefits families with sick children through financial, medical and emotional support.
“We see the families we are helping with the money we raise from our races,” Igarta said. “It’s really great to have that support from people all around the country.”
After the race, runners and their family and friends milled around, chatting and enjoying their lunch. Little kids congratulated their mom or dad on a job well done. And when awards were handed out, everyone clapped and cheered as if they had all known each other for years.
“There are a lot of benefits of running, like a healthy heart and good lungs,” said Elizabeth Downs, the Healthy Living Director for the La Porte YMCA. “But we also get a lot of families and friends who come out to these races which means you’re doing things as a family and a community.”
La Porte, IN 46350
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