The Barton County Young Professionals group championed the cause of fitness Saturday by sponsoring the first YP5K and Half Marathon at Veterans Memorial Park. Twenty participants started the half marathon at 7 a.m. An hour later, 56 more runners/walkers started the 5K event.
BCYP will use the proceeds from Saturday’s event to buy bicycle racks for Great Bend, said Rachel Mawhirter, part of the organizing committee. “We’re going to poll the public and find out – ‘where do you want a bike rack?’”
The “Super Awesome Fitness Committee” also included Brandon Steinert, Lindsey Bogner, Jean Aycock, Tana Cooper and Sandy McMullen. Aycock oversaw breakfast in the park, served by youth from the First United Methodist Church, and Bogner was in charge of a Kids Fun Zone that included a straw bale maze and pumpkin bowling.
“We wanted to make sure Great Bend has things like this,” Steinert said. “One of the most overlooked priorities of being a professional is taking care of yourself physically.”
Oz Endurance, a professional timing company, set up an arch that served as the start and finish line. A disposable chip was attached to each participant’s bib number. As runners crossed the start/finish line, their time was accurately recorded.
The fastest half marathon was run by Daniel Kiewel, in 1 hour, 38 minutes and 56 seconds. Bystanders cheered as each participant headed to the finish line. Daniel and his family stayed to cheer when his father, 65-year-old James Kiewel, also finished the 13-mile half marathon.
Another father-son team Saturday consisted of 11-year-old Caleb Romero, who ran the 5K, and his dad Aaron Romero, who did the half marathon.
“We trained together,” Aaron Romero said. “We run a few times a week here are the park.” Romero said he improved his time compared to his last half marathon. He is in training for a full marathon.
“It was fun, and it was my first race,” Caleb Romero said. He placed second in his age division, even though he took time to go through an optional obstacle course near the end of the race.
The fastest 5K time was 21 minutes, 24 seconds, run by Darian Guerra.