Residents race through Civitan Park for annual Mother’s Day 5K fundraiser
BELPRE — Around 200 runners and walkers turned out Sunday on a sunny Mother’s Day afternoon to compete in the 10th annual Mother’s Day 5K Race at Civitan Park in Belpre.
The annual race is hosted by Esali Birth and proceeds benefit healthy pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding education and support in the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Danielle Bergum, owner of Esali Birth, who co-directs the annual race with her mother, Leslie Thomas.
“This is our 10th annual Mother’s Day 5K and it is pretty exciting,” Bergum said. “We are raising funds to help support healthy and happy births and breastfeeding in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”
While the day stayed sunny throughout, a forecast for storms in the mid-afternoon might have kept some people away.
“Our numbers are a little bit down, but the weather has been making things a little bit iffy,” Bergum said.
Looking back over the last 10 years, she said there were years they had a high turnout and others with a lower turnout. Over the last couple of years they have evened out at around 200-250 people.
The purpose of the run was to bring attention to breastfeeding education and support. Esali Birth does a number of programs to promote healthy breast-feeding and has a support group for women and families seeking information about these topics and others. Women can share their birth experiences and others can learn about options available in the local area, from home births to hospital births.
The race started when Bergum’s daughter was born and she had a number of breastfeeding issues herself.
“With this race, my mother, Leslie Thomas, and I came up with a way to help our local community not have so many problems,” she said. “We use this for different outreach workshops and continuing education for people in the community.
“It is for awareness and just reaching out to whoever we can in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”
Bergum wants people to know there are resources available to help mothers and babies in the community. There are many benefits to breast feeding and the future health of a child.
The Mother’s Day 5K is part of the River City Runners and Walkers Club’s summer series.
Many people came out with their families to participate in the race, Bergum said. Sunday’s 5K featured runners and walkers, along with a few mothers or fathers pushing strollers with younger children along the course which is designed to be stroller-friendly.
Laura Wolfe, of Marietta, came out with her husband and kids. This was the first race for their family.
“We recently tried to pick up some new exercises,” she said. “We thought this would be fun. It is Mother’s Day so it would be a good time to start on a good foot for summer. We wanted to make it our first one.
“We are trying to be active and healthy, especially since we have two little ones who are participating.”
Their children, Nolan, 2, and Lillie, 1, participated in the Children’s Races which were held after the main run.
“This was a good way to get him involved,” Wolfe said of her son. “He is excited. He hasn’t done anything like that before.
“It was a good way to get him involved and excited about being active and moving around.”
Rena Goins, of Parkersburg, was walking Sunday as part of her “500 Miles for Fairness Campaign” to bring awareness to inequality in the area.
“I go where the people are,” she said.
Goins also supports many of the services the organizers of the race are promoting.
“I like services these groups are working for,” she said. “I came because my family is here.
“I thought it would be a good fun thing to do on Mother’s Day.”
Participating in the race is a tradition for Jillian Eddy, of Parkersburg
“I have been coming every year since I was pregnant with my oldest (who will be turning 8 years old soon),” she said. “I have either walked or run every single year.”
Her children, Jalyn and Joshua, 6, also participated Sunday. They were all stretching out before the start of the race.
“It is a great atmosphere,” Eddy said. “It is good family time. We like the Kid Races afterwards.”
Bergum hoped to raise anything to support the community through Sunday’s event, which is the only fundraiser held each year for the organization. Around $1,500 was raised Sunday.
“I am hoping I will be able to do something with moms who need help at home if they are alone and don’t have a lot of support systems,” she said. “I would really like to help families like that.
“I just hope this brings awareness that we have a good holistic support system for birth and breast feeding throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. We are trying to connect with other people in the area to bring more child birth educators and breastfeeding support at all hours of the day and the weekend. This race really helps to make that happen.”
Awards were presented for the top three overall winners in the male and female runner and walker categories.
* The Male Overall Runner winners were Harrison Potter (first), Nathan Cunningham (second) and Joe Wiltsey (third)
* The Female Overall Runner winners were Yvonne Gilders (first), Kaylor Offenberger (second) and Ashley Becker (third)
* The Male Overall Walker winners were Jason Mader (first), Brenis Philips (second) and Ray Poling (third).
* The Female Overall Walker winners were Sharon Marks (first), Karen Meeks (second) and Vicki Williams (third).