OTTAWA — People of all ages got a healthy start to 2020 on Wednesday by walking and running in the Putnam County YMCA Chilly 5K.
Ottawa resident Bill Meyers was the oldest participant registered at 89 to walk in the 3.1-mile race in its fifth year. He will turn 90 on Aug. 13. It was his third year for completing the race, and he has been a member of the YMCA for the past 10 years.
He comes to the YMCA two to three times a week to swim. He started running at age 52, when his son, Larry, joined the track team at Ottawa-Glandorf High School.
“I feel good when I exercise, and it helps me to stay active. I used to run every day over my lunch hour when I worked at Ford Company, from there to Bath High School,” Meyers said.
Over the years he has run in races in Lima, Ottawa, and Glandorf, and he said exercise has grown on him.
He advised people who are interested in running to start off slow to build up their endurance.
Meyers’ daughter, Nancy Hovest, attended the 5K to show support for her father.
“I’m proud of him that he has continued to be mobile and stay healthy,” Hovest said.
He and his family will celebrate his 90th birthday by running the Balloon Race in Findlay in August.
Cari Croy, of Ottawa, and her three sons, Garret, 17, Wyatt, 12 and Everett, 11, and daughter, Kayt, 8, ran the 5K together.
“Exercising is always a priority for us, and in the summer they even have a chore where they run around the block,” Croy said.
The family has been YMCA members for the past five years, and she wants to teach the children a healthy lifestyle to help them live longer. Croy said her resolution is to make healthy dinners for her family.
Garret said he loves what he calls an “adrenaline rush” of working out, running and lifting weights.
The first 25 participants received black T-shirts with the race emblem, and all participants received small Mercy Health duffle bags and stocking caps.
Ottawa-Glandorf Running Club members put their love and passion for running to use by participating in the event.
Susan Johanns, 52, of Kalida, has been a running club member for the past three years. She runs every day and goes to the gym to lift weights throughout the week three times a week.
“Exercising makes me feel great and better and helped me stay healthy, and I don’t have any health issues,” Johanns said.
Brian Barhorst, YMCA associate executive director, said proceeds from the event will go toward purchasing solar lights for the outdoor track behind the YMCA.
“This is a great way to start the new year by getting off on the right foot and having fun,” Barhorst said.
The cold temperatures never seem to affect runners from showing up. Three years ago, it was minus-13 during the race, and there were 53 participants with 23 people who registered at the door. The temperatures Wednesday was a relatively mild 32 degrees.
Following Wednesday’s race, the 35 participants enjoyed chili, hot dogs and hot chocolate to help warm them up.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.