The second annual Madison Gospel 5K run/walk is expected to take place next week.
The Madison 5K Gospel run/walk is the first in-person running event happening in the city since the Safter at Home orders started in March, according to the event’s website. This year’s social distance run will take place Saturday, July 18, 8 a.m., at Penn Park, 2101 Fisher St. A virtual option is available for participants.
This year’s theme is “Renew, Retrain, Reclaim, it’s time” and although it took an application appeal to get approval from the City for the event permit, organizer Uchenna Jones said physical and mental health should be at the forefront of people’s mind.
“Now it is time not like any other time that health is so essential,” she later added. “It is imperative you are your own doctor, your own nurse, eat food like it is medicine and move your body like you’ve never moved before.”
She described the event as focused on faith, family and fitness hoping to bring her family wellness approach to the Black faith community, she previously told Madison365.
“It is competitive but the goal is not who comes in first or second or third. The goal is for families to come together in the name of fitness and health with other like-minded people and having a really great time,” Jones said. “We want to promote diversity; we actively are trying to reach out to different people in the community; from the fabulously fit to the newbies — someone who said this is something I’ve never done before. We are trying to create a space where everyone can be in that space and feel amazing.”
There will be both running and walking options, she said.
The event coincides with mental health awareness month for people of color. Ten minutes of exercise a day can improve mental health, Jones said.
“This is the cause that Black Minds Matter,” she said. “And being able to say I’m not doing good mentally and it is ok versus all the negative stigma surrounding mental health.”
In addition to cultivating awareness about mental and physical health, Jones hopes participants are aware of the new COVID-19 restrictions in place at this year’s event.
As a labor and delivery nurse at St. Mary’s hospital Jones said she understands the implications and seriousness of COVID-19 and understands the importance of promoting health right now.
“I feel our new normal is to learn how to live during the pandemic safely and learn how to make it through…We have to figure out how to move forward in a healthy direction and limit the exposure of COVID,” she said.
Even after her event application was denied more than once, Jones persisted in having the second annual Gospel 5K happen. She said if restaurants can stay open an outside event that follows the Department of Health Services guidelines and is focused on physical and mental health for people of color should be able to move forward.
And she promises to take those safety guidelines seriously.
All participants of the 5K run/walk will be required to wear a mask at the start and finish of the race — participants may either wear their own mask or a personalized Gospel Run mask will be provided. Runners or walkers will be released in groups of no more than 15 people, and no more than 25 people can be gathered outside at one time, including staff, she said.
For details on where to park, material pick up times, registration and safety protocols visit madisongospel5kfoundation.com.