By AMBER GINTER
Southern Ohio Today
The Jackson County Health Department and Jackson County Employee Wellness Program look forward to promoting health and wellness throughout the county in new and exciting ways and they didn’t want to lose the momentum they had built with their annual “Halloween Hustle.”
According to Lindsay N. Pierpont, Jackson County’s Wellness/Safety Director, the fourth annual 5K race was designed to provide a fun event that encouraged physical activity.
“The event has been largely successful in the previous three years, and the fourth edition of the event proved to be no different,” said Pierpont.
On Tuesday, Jackson’s streets welcomed 103 participants and the brisk evening chill did not discourage attendance.
“This event welcomed serious runners and novice walkers involving everyone, while also encouraging health and well-being,” said Pierpoint.
With the unique opportunity to celebrate the Halloween season with costumes and a stroll through the town, prizes for each age group and costume category were awarded themed graphics.
This year’s winner in the men’s division was Alex Morris with a time of 17:08.4. In the women’s division, Emma Newsom finished first in 22:59.3.
With modifications to ensure appropriate social distancing, safety, and COVID-19 guidelines, Pierpont said the event was executed thanks to the work of many.
“This event required a significant amount of planning, preparation, and resources that were devoted to making certain that the event happened safely and responsibly,” Pierpont said. “From staggered starts controlling the number of participants in the area to facial coverings, and designated socially distanced spaces, we were able to reduce the likelihood of contact between participants.”
Pierpont said the team behind the event was pleased with the outcome.
“We exhausted every avenue in making sure that the proper precautions were in place to hold the safest event practicably possible during these challenging times,” she said. “Kevin Aston, the Jackson County Health Commissioner, worked closely with the Wellness Director to ensure that the event followed specific safety guidelines and people had fun.”
Pierpont said it is rewarding to see people return year after year to participate.
“While it is nice to meet new people and new participants, it is incredibly rewarding to welcome back the faithful core groups that participate together each year. Having a majority of our participants return year after year proves that we have done things the right way with organizing the event,” she said. “Each year we also welcome a great group of volunteers that help immensely in making sure this event remains top-notch.”