By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
About 250 runners took advantage of the mild weather for a run around downtown Enid Saturday morning, raising money and awareness at the second annual Junior Welfare League Warm Your Heart 5K and fun run.
The event raised money for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign, and also to support JWL charitable initiatives in the Enid community.
Funds raised through the Warm Your Heart 5K will go to help Junior Welfare League renovate its new retail space for its consignment shop, Return Engagement, at 121 N. Grand.
Sales at Return Engagement, paired with community donations, fund JWL’s community-service work. The group has given more than $2.5 million back to the Enid community since it was founded 83 years ago.
JWL purchased the building at 121 N. Grand to expand Return Engagement in August 2011, and since has been raising funds for the renovation.
JWL moved into the new location last week, but there still is work to be done and funds to be raised to support the larger store.
JWL past president Eva Bartley said Saturday’s 5K and fun run served the dual purpose of raising funds for JWL and raising awareness of heart disease in the community.
“We are a service organization, and we want to meet the needs of women and children through the different programs we have here in the community,” Bartley said. “This will help us raise awareness for heart disease in women, and also to meet the needs of our organization.”
Heidi Ritchie, race director for the Warm Your Heart 5K and fun run, said the event was a good way to simultaneously raise money for JWL and support the Go Red for Women campaign.
“We want to raise awareness for women and heart disease, and just improve the health of our community,” Ritchie said.
Go Red for Women is an American Heart Association campaign to raise awareness on how to prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes in women.
According to AHA figures, heart disease affects more women than men in America, and claims the lives of one in three women.
More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next four leading causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer, according to the AHA.
Ritchie said events like the Warm Your Heart 5K and fun run help promote healthy lifestyles in the community, and raise awareness of the prevalence of heart disease in women.
Ritchie said turnout for yesterday’s event was “very good, and better than we expected.”
She said more than 200 runners signed up for the 5K run and more than 50 people came out to enjoy the one-mile fun run and walk.
Jennifer Patterson brought her two daughters, Cassidy, 8, and Camryn, 6, and their friend Emma Holland, 7, to enjoy the fun run.
Patterson said she regularly participates in 5K runs, but she wanted to bring the girls to the one-mile fun run so they could learn about healthy lifestyle habits that help prevent heart disease.
“Instead of running the 5K today, I wanted them to do their first fun run,” Patterson said. “I want my kids to learn about being healthy and exercising.”
Karl Recknagel, who ran in the 5K, said the event was a good way to support a local charity and to promote healthy living.
“This is a local race, and we like to get out and support the local races as much as possible,” Recknagel said.
He was joined by fellow Integris Bass Baptist Health Center employees Russell Wilson and Macy Ridgway. Integris was one of the event’s title sponsors, along with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
Seth Hyde, a student pilot at Vance Air Force Base, said the run was a fun way to get out and support the community.
“I hadn’t done a race in a long time, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere here,” Hyde said.
He was joined in the race by a group of several other VAFB student pilots.
“We’re all willing to throw down some money to support a good cause, and if we can get in a good run at the same time, so much the better,” Hyde said. “This entire package is great.”
Hyde finished first in the men’s 5K division Saturday, with a time of 20:02. He was followed by: Zach Adkin, 20:31; Steve Brinkley, 20:40; Nick Almack, 23:02; and Karl Recknagel, 23:54.
The top five in the women’s division were: Amy Banks, 21:08; Molly Payne, 22:57; Stacey Randolph, 23:59; Cali Lebrija, 24:00; and Autumn D’Auteuil, 24:51. Randolph and Lebrija were separated by three-one hundredths of a second at the finish line in the chip-timed race.
Ritchie said plans already are in the works for next year’s Warm Your Heart run, and organizers plan to add a 10k run to the event for 2014.