Despite weather in the upper 80s early Saturday morning, more than 230 participants came out for the very first Madison Gospel 5K Run/Walk. Runners, numerous volunteers and more than 20 organizations celebrated the event’s theme; “Faith, Family and Fitness.”
“The thing that I liked the most was, there were a lot of people of color who stepped out of their comfort zones. Doing something like this for the first time, and it’s because they took me at my word for how important it is to work on health,” said organizer Uchenna Jones.
After breaking her leg and being told she would never run, Jones fought back and lost 110 pounds in 10 months and completed 41 running events, including a marathon. She then wanted to help others, and create an event that focused on family, health and faith.
“Individuals who participate or go to our church or believe they focus more on their spiritual health but they miss the component of the body and spirit connection,” she said. “I see at church our backsides are getting wider- we are spending more time being still than being active. So I wanted to inspire others to do what helped me.”
The event included a 5K run or walk from Penn Park to Olin Park and back and a short distance children’s run. Vanessa McDowel, performing as DJ Ace, was there to top off the high energy. The event ended with a full fledged health fair.
At the health fair there were more than 20 booths present to offer information and resources on health topics, free food and fun activities. Each booth offered a unique way to learn and provide information about different health topics.
The Wisconsin Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired had blocks to show participants how to write their name in braille. The National Alliance on Mental Illnesss and LInks Inc. had coloring sheets, stress balls and exercise handouts on stress reduction for children, teens and adults.
There was also free face painting by local artist Desere Mayo of Design by Mayo as well as free massage and yoga.
“From the youngest to the oldest everybody had a wonderful experience,” said Jones.
Save the date for next year’s Madison Gospel 5K — July 18, 2020.