Marathon habits inspire
When sporting events other than college football make the front page of the daily newspaper or the lead story on the evening news, you know they must be a big deal. Last Sunday’s IMT Des Moines Marathon was all that, and more.
What made it so special?
Was it James Kirwa’s record-breaking win in the men’s division?
Was it Alena Vinitskaya shattering the women’s record?
Was it the 7,777 participants, most ever, in the marathon?
Was it the first crossing of the new Center Street Bridge?
All of those made this year’s Des Moines Marathon one to remember, but the most significant fact isn’t a statistic at all. It is more of a symbol of ongoing change, a spirited focus on fitness that seems to continue to gain momentum in Iowa. And while statistics show that residents of our state continue to pack on the pounds, events like this, the Hy-Vee Triathlon and a multitude of races provide hope that healthier habits are forming. With about 1.4 million or 63 percent of Iowans being labeled as overweight, we have some work to do. Public officials say that in the last 10 years alone, obesity among Iowa adults has increased 36 percent.
Don’t expect a sudden increase of hog farmers or insurance reps to sign up for the next marathon. Let’s face it; we’re not all made to run 26.2 miles. Rather, let’s continue with the increases in charity walks, 5K runs, family bike rides and swimming events. And if those events inspire residents to become marathoners, then we are all the better.
Organizers of the IMT Des Moines Marathon understand the need to have someting for all levels. That’s why even though the marathon and the half marathon are the cornerstone races, there was also a 5K run, marathon relay, kid’s run and a fitness expo. Major corporations signed up as sponsors, as they want to be affiliated with health-focused events like this. Insurance companies know that healthier Iowans mean healthier bottom lines, especially considering that in the last 10 years, total annual health-care costs in Iowa that relate to adult obesity are estimated at $783 million.
That would pay for a lot of running shoes. CV