The Kiwanis Club of Chester is having its annual Chester 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk May 6. The run is presented in conjunction with Thomas Dale High School and the Chester YMCA and Kiwanis Club member, Duane Wittman, discussed the partnership.
“We were sitting there one day and one of the guys came up and said, ‘Thomas Dale wants to talk
to us about what they’re doing in a wellness program,’” Wittman said. “I think most of the schools now have a wellness program [where they work] with the kids in terms of nutrition and obesity [so] that’s how Thomas Dale … came into it and … the YMCA said [they’d] been
wanting to do something like this and get involved … so that’s how three of us all got together.”
The club had a contest for Thomas Dale students to design the paint run shirts and were told they could use any color they wanted and to come up with their own vision and graphics. Wittman said the contest would provide the students with a real-world experience of the graphic design industry.
“Thomas Dale’s participating, they’ve got arts programs, design programs, and what better way to … get the kids involved?” Wittman said. “And if they’re interested in this type of work, it is a real-life situation in terms of how graphics and stuff normally occur: somebody has a vision, you take whatever information is given to you and come up with a design, and then you go from there. And that’s really the real world so it’s kind of like a real-world challenge for these [kids].”
The Kiwanis Club picked senior Brandon Hyman as their winner and he will receive a run T-shirt, a Chick-fil-A gift card. Hyman, who was accepted to the arts program at VCU, said he had experience designing T-shirts for his friends and was excited when he found out his logo was chosen.
“I was pretty excited,” Hyman said, “it was a really cool opportunity to have something like that, especially [having] a bunch of people wearing my design. [It’s really] cool.”
This is the Kiwanis’ Club’s fifth year doing the run and their first year doing a paint run, which Wittman said came about because of the desire for something new.
“In the past, we’d get like 150, 160 total … and so we said, ‘Well let’s try something different,’ Wittman said, “and I thought ‘We do the same thing every time, a run is a run’, [and] a lot of the younger kids and millennials like to do mud runs and paint runs.”
Wittman said Fort Lee will be bringing in 200 AIT soldiers from their Ordinance brigade to run, and between them and the runners, he is hoping 400 to 500 people show up. He said the money they make from the run will go back into the community.
“Well we take all the money but all the money goes back into the community, to Thomas Dale High School scholarships, to food banks, to other organizations,” Wittman said. “All the money, whatever we make goes back into the community. We don’t keep anything, no need to.”
The 1 Mile Run/Walk starts at 9:30 am and the 5k Run/Walk starts at 10 am, and will start and finish at Thomas Dale High School. There will be family Zumba dancing, food and face painting, and all runners receive a race T-shirt. For more information and to register, visit chesterkiwanis.org or raceit.com.