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May 10 , 2012
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Norwalk run/walk returns for its 12th year

By Jared Curtis

Runners take off from the starting line at last year’s RUNorwalk 8K event. This year’s event is Saturday, May 12, starting at the Norwalk High School. For more information, visit www.norwalkchamber.org.

Spring is here and summer is close behind, which means more and more running and biking events across the metro. But not all of the events have been around for more than a decade, which is the case with the upcoming RUNorwalk event on Saturday, May 12.

“The chamber created the event 12 years ago as a way to bring the community together,” said Deb Mineart, executive director for the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce. “At that time we were still growing and wanted to connect the city, so they thought a run would be the best idea.”

The race not only helps the chamber, but a portion of the proceeds goes to locals in need.

“We always put some of the proceeds back into the community,” Mineart said. “Along with donating some of the proceeds, we also put it towards some scholarships we offer for seniors.”

This year the race will benefit the Norwalk Food Pantry.

“We knew it was in need of inventory, and we thought it would be a great way to spread awareness,” she said. “We’ll also be having a canned food drive and encourage every one to bring a nonperishable food item.”

The event has always featured an 8K run, but this year they’ll be offering a 5K run/walk. Also new this year is a health and wellness expo.

“We wanted to offer something else to encourage more people to run or walk for fun if they couldn’t handle the 8K,” Mineart said. “We added the health and wellness expo to encourage more people to come out and cheer on the participants. It will have a bounce house for the kids and lots of different health and wellness vendors.”

Participants can preregister — $20 (ages 5-11) and $30 (ages 12-65) — through the chamber website or getmeregistered.com. Register the day of the event from 7 to 8 a.m. at the high school. Race packets will be available on Friday, May 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce.

“Well be giving away cash prizes and medals to the top three finishers in the male and female divisions in the 8K,” Mineart said.

Mineart said runners of all skill levels will be competing.

“We had around 200 people last year, and we’re hoping for the same numbers or more this year,” she said. “We have lots of local runners, but also people from all over the state participating. I even had a 78-year-old man register a few days ago.”

Although there are numerous road races throughout the metro, Mineart says there are a few reasons that make RUNorwalk special.

“For the more professional runners, this is a great way to train and work on improving their time before the bigger races like Dam to Dam and the Des Moines Marathon. And I’ve heard from runners that this is kind of a tough course with lots of little hills and it can be challenging,” she said. “We encourage everyone to come out and get some exercise while enjoying a family-friendly event. Not only are you supporting a great cause, but it’s a great way to see the city of Norwalk.” CV



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