Developing a 5K community will pay dividends

The Elk River area is on the run, and that’s a good thing.

It was the Elk River YMCA that offered the most recent 5K Run and Walk. The best thing about it and several other 5K events that have surfaced in the last year or two is the number of young families with young children participating.

Instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, these families are getting up and walking or running. That’s a good thing, with all the news about childhood obesity.

The other nice thing about these walks is they are addressing local needs. In the case of the “Y-Run,” dollars were raised for the Y Partners campaign. This money is going to go right back into the community to provide scholarships to kids and families who may not be able to afford a membership or an important program. The net effect will be stronger and healthier children and families.

In the case of McCoy’s Pub’s 5K Run and Walk, money was raised for CAER. That one turned out nearly 300 people on a beautiful spring morning.

There have been 5K events to raise money for education and education-related endeavors on both sides of the Mississippi River. One is the ROADS 5K to raise money for the ROADS Foundation. The other was the Elk River grad party 5K run/walk.

Salk it to Me, a 5K put on by Salk Middle School packed a punch, and Spectrum has added a 5K to it’s Active Youth Day — a bonanza of activity surrounding the idea that kids need to lead more active lives than they currently are.

Other successful runs and walks have been the Bubba Bye 5K Run, Walk and Roll, Ava’s 5K, an ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) Fun Run and there are others.

I started to think there were too many runs in this community, and there is that danger of having too many. But I have since changed my mind. My only concern is they don’t begin to overlap and compete for the same runners and walkers on the same day.

What I would suggest, for everyone who has participated in one of these fine events, consider hitting several of these walks throughout the year to build on their successes. The real winner in all of this running and walking will be the families who begin to alter their sedentary lifestyles and get more active with their children. These children will grow up much healthier and stronger than they would have if they were left in front of the television on Saturday mornings for cartoons. — Jim Boyle, editor