The sun shone on the cold morning of Dec. 7, the sound of cheers as runners dashed through Rolling Hills County Park in Ypsilanti, dressed in Santa and elf shirts and hats for the Go Santa Go 5k Run.
Like the good giving spirit of Santa and the elves, the festive event was for a great cause to support SOS Community Services, a community nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in Washtenaw County. Sponsored by NR Road Racing, the purpose of the race was to get people into the holiday spirit while serving area charities and to “remind everyone that you can still be active and healthy even during the holiday/chilly season” according to the site.
Co-honor of Ann Arbor Racing, Ray Sahm, helps charities in the Midwest generate the needed funds for organizations such as SOS for events like the 5k. Ann Arbor Racing donates 20 percent to charity and with approximately 100 runners present to participate in the race, $700 donations for the charity board.
Overall, Sahm was pleased with the success of the event and looks forward to returning to Ypsilanti with more fun events for the public to enjoy.
“Our case here at this location, we’ve got a great park,” he said. “It was the perfect morning for it as far as weather-wise, so I’m really happy with it. We look forward to possibly coming back in
December also. In addition to the Go Santa Go runs, we do a Chocolate 5k.”
Participants were also each asked to bring a $10 unopened, unwrapped children’s toy to be donated to a local Ypsilanti Toys for Tots drop location.
Brittany Adkins, a biology major and Eastern Michigan University freshman was present at the event with 25 of her fellow Sigma Alpha Tau members, as volunteers and to keep the spirits high for participants.
“We’re here to cheer on the winners and to make it a little happier for them,” Adkins said.
Amanda Hernandez, 24, a registered dietician and graduate student of Western Michigan University, was the winner of Go Santa Go 5k race finishing in under 25 minutes. Her husband attends Eastern Michigan University.
When it came to getting to the finish line, Hernandez, who participated in the Halloween Run and Hot Chocolate Run in the past and placed high in those races, had a few strategies up her sleeve.
“I like to try to start off pretty fast because I feel like if I don’t start fast then I can never pick it up,” she said. “And if you’re by somebody, stay with them, don’t let too many people pass you and get too far ahead of you.”
Hernandez and her husband enjoy racing for fun and after finding out about the event online, they thought it would be a fun way to remain active during the winter time.
“I think it’s motivation to train because otherwise with this cold weather, it’s easy to skip training, so races help me,” she said.
For more information on other 5k races, especially the Chocolate 5k, go to NRRoadRacing.com.