locker room

April 21, 2011 |

By Amber Williams


Run for a cause, WHAMM returns


If you’re going to run a race, why not do it for a good cause? That’s how Sherri Finney of Des Moines feels about it anyway.

For six years she’s participated in the Windsor Heights Annual Mini Marathon, better known as WHAMM. Although she probably won’t be able to lace up her jogging shoes this year due to a recent injury, she urges others to go in her stead Saturday, May 21.

“ It’s a good race to run, especially so close to Dam to Dam, because it’s so hilly,” Finney said. “Most people don’t expect that in Windsor Heights, but there are some good hills. So it’s a good training run for Dam to Dam.”

Finney and her husband participate not only as avid runners, but also in honor of muscular dystrophy patients after their son was diagnosed. The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Des Moines is the beneficiary of the event’s proceeds. Runners and walkers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to participate in the 2011 WHAMM event.

The walk/race benefits more than 500 people in central Iowa every year — individuals and families coping with muscular dystrophy and related progressive muscle diseases, according to Danielle Etter, executive director of MDA Des Moines. MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat muscular dystrophy and related diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services, advocacy and education. Its programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors like WHAMM sponsors and participants.

Last year’s WHAMM raised more than $5,000, and it’s hoped this year’s event will surpass that total.

“ We’re hoping for at least $8,000 this year,” Etter said. “That’s based on increased sponsorship and increased runners.”

Last year 240 runners registered, Etter said. The deadlines to register this year are May 10 for individual participants, at a cost of $25, and May 18 for teams comprised of at least four people, at a cost of $20 each.

The proceeds, Etter said, allow the MDA to offer several invaluable patient services free of charge, such as annual flu shots, health clinics, support group and kids’ summer camps. Participants are encouraged to raise pledges to support MDA and to bring family, friends or acquaintances.

Shirts and post-race food will be provided to all participants, and medals will go to the top males and females in the 5K and 10K overall. Both the 5K Run/Walk (single loop) and the 10K (double loop) start and end at 66th Street and University Avenue and travel through the neighborhoods of Windsor Heights.

“If you do the 10K, there is a big hill, and it’s a killer the second time around,” Etter said.

A community health fair will be a new addition to WHAMM this year. After the race, local businesses will offer information and screenings, safety demonstrations and children’s activities. Supporters and participants include the Blood Bank of Iowa, the Mercy Hospital mammography screening, a dietician from Hy-Vee and the Windsor Heights Police with information about car seat safety.

For more information about WHAMM, visit and or contact Etter at 453-9489 or Tracy Levine, 645-6821. Register online at


Locker Room note:

Dam to Dam, Iowa’s distance classic race from Saylorville Dam to downtown Des Moines, is slated for Saturday, June 4. The event is ranked as the largest and one of the best long distance races in the country and also offers a 5K race, which is the largest one of its kind in Iowa, and a youth run with three distance options. Visit to learn more. CV


Caption: Windsor Heights City Council member Diana Willits with her husband Jim and daughters Courtney and Ashley.