OTTAWA — Putnam County area residents started their New Year’s Day off Tuesday by participating in a Chilly 5K at Putnam County YMCA.
Proceeds from race fees went to future improvements for the Blanchard Valley Health System track located behind the YMCA. Solar lighting has been installed around the track and there are plans to put more lights around the track.
Event coordinator Brian Barhorst said it is the fourth year for the 5K where participants could walk or run. There were 80 participants ranging from youth to adults who took part in the event.
Participants started at the YMCA and ran behind the Putnam County Educational Service Center, completing three laps.
“This is a great way to start the year and get everything going on the right foot,” Barhorst said. The temperature was negative-13 during last year’s race, but this year’s race was in the 40s. There were 53 participants who participated last year when $1,000 was raised.”
Racers received stocking hats and fitness bags. They were treated to chili and hot chocolate at the end of the race.
Sue Hohenbrink, race organizer, founded the 5K four years ago as a way to jump start the year.
“What a way to ring in the new year by doing a 5K. Last year, it was below zero, and you never know what you will get,” Hohenbrink said. She said the challenge is to finish the race no matter what.
She said it is important to raise funds for the YMCA track because it has evolved into a place where people walk and run.
Bill Meyers, 88, Ottawa, ran the 5K and said he likes to go to the YMCA to exercise.
“I like to swim at the Y two to three times a week. One year, I ran 42 races,” Meyers said. The most laps he swam at once was 75 laps, which equates to two miles. He has run 5K races in Lima with four generations of his family participating.
Dave and Cheryl Ellerbrock of Columbus Grove, and their two daughters, Alyssa, 17, and Taylor, 19, ran the 5K together. They have a family membership at the YMCA and were glad to celebrate the new year together.
“It’s good to start off the year with physical activity and try to continue that throughout 2019,” Dave said. The family enjoys walking and running together and goes to the YMCA when the weather is bad.
Alyssa is on the cross country team at Columbus Grove and Taylor is on the Ohio Northern University cross country team.
“I like to run with my friends and family, and it is a time I can enjoy their company,” Alyssa said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.