Snowmen replaced penguins in Rogers on Saturday (Jan. 31) as an 11-year tradition, the Northwest Arkansas Mercy YMCA’s annual 5K fundraiser, Tux on the Run, got a new name and new activities by becoming the Frostbite Family 5K.
“This is the 12th race and we wanted it to be more family friendly and more self-explanatory when you heard the name. Instead of trying to figure out what ‘Tux on the Run’ has to do with a penguin and all of that,” said Ashton Caton, health and wellness director for the YMCA.
As well as a new name this year, the event included a new family fun zone in the parking lot of the YMCA held before, during and after the race. Children could jump in a bounce house, slide down a huge inflated slide, throw snowballs to knock the head off of a snowman, and race in two red toboggans. The Chick-fil-A cow also attended.
About 130 runners, of all ages and stages of life, took off from under the inflated green start/finish line and made the loop from the YMCA, to Stoney Brook Road and up Pinnacle Hills Parkway and then back to the YMCA, using part of the trail system.
“It’s a family friendly event, so we do have some 5, 6, 7 year olds who are running in the race. We’ve also got some people who have never run a race before, so some run/walk it,” Caton said. “That’s the thing we love about this race – that it is a true non-competitive race. We give out medals but it’s about celebrating everyone being active.”
Lorna Armstrong and her four friends, Michael Gipson and sisters Stephanie, Amy and Sonya Price ran in the race. Gipson and the Prices are Armstrong’s clients in Van Buren at Abilities Unlimited, an organization that helps people with disabilities. She said they used this 5K to train for the Hog Eye marathon.
“I wanted to pick out something fun for them to run,” she said. “They trained very hard for this and it is a big accomplishment.”
Shawn Wierick won the 5K race with a time of 16.15 minutes. Mike Herbert, with his German shepherd dog, Keylo, was a close second with a time of 16.31 minutes. Abrene Rine finished first among the women with a time of 19.06 minutes. Collin Krapf, age 13, finished fifth overall and was the first to finish in the 13 and under category.
The money raised from the $30 race entrance fee will go to fund the YMCA’s financial assistance program which allows people from the community to join as a member or to participate in programs at a reduced rate, so they are not turned away due to inability to pay, Caton said. In 2014, the YMCA gave out $50,000 worth of scholarships in both programs and in memberships to those in need. Caton described the YMCA as “a family-friendly facility where we allow your kids to work out with you on the floor from ages eight and up.”
“It’s also a place where mom and dad can come and work out together and put their kids in childcare, no matter what their ages are and spend time together. It’s a place for the whole family to belong.”