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Ester Marsh: Anywhere, Anyway 5K

Are you an avid runner who has done a lot of 5K races? Are you an aspiring runner or walker who would love to do a 5K? Or are you someone who will never be running, either because it is too physical or you just plain don’t want to run?

Last year, we had our first Anywhere, Anyway 5K and it was a great success. All proceeds go toward our annual campaign that provides financial assistance to families and individuals in need.

The YMCA will never turn anyone away because of the inability to pay.

Hurley Family YMCA is kicking off its annual campaign with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, with guest speaker coach Bobby Lutz. Anyone who wants to attend this free campaign kickoff should call the front desk or email Terri Dockins at tdockins@rowanymca.org.

To help with our campaign, we host all kinds of events to build excitement. Another event to help our campaign is the Port-a-Pit on Thursday at the YMCA. Tickets are $10, and you get a quarter port-a-pit chicken, beans, slaw, a roll and a cookie or slice of pound cake. It’s eat-in or takeout.

The Anywhere, Anyway 5K will be Feb. 1-17, and it is just how it sounds — anywhere, anyway. You can take as long as 17 days to fulfill the 5K or do it in one day. You can run, walk, swim, walk during lunch, walk in your house or at work with your pedometer.

The entry fee is $20. This will get you a race T-shirt and a medal for completing the 5K. You can sign up online www.rowanymca.com or at any of our three branches (Salisbury, China Grove or Rockwell).

To get the T-shirt and medal mailed, add $5.

This is not limited to Rowan County.

New this year is that you can add your dog for $5 per dog, and all dogs will receive a bandana when they finish their 5K with you.

The first 100 entries at each of the branches will receive a free YMCA workout towel as well.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s sign up and move!

We had someone ask if they could enter their 18-month-old in the $5 bandana category. This child runs all day long and they want to put a pedometer on the child’s arm to get the 5K in. Of course we agreed, and I believe the child will get it done quickly. Anywhere, anyway!

It’s a great feeling to accomplish a 5K, whether it’s in one day, two days or 17 days. Email your photo with your watch, treadmill or phone screen or lifeguard, fitness staff or group exercise instructor to Frances Farmer at ffarmer@rowanymca.org.

You can also win door prizes by posting your picture to Facebook using #anyway5k.

Yes, it can be also done from a wheelchair, walker or cane. When you walk your dog, put your pedometer on them or use the website https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/create/ to see how much you have walked with your dog or by yourself.

Smartphones have the option to be used as a pedometer, so just do it. Not only is it awesome for your mental and physical health, you are helping an amazing cause.

The reason that I have been with our YMCA almost 22 years is that I love how we help our community.

I have so many stories how the YMCA positively affected people’s lives. I am so proud and humble to be part of such a great organization. I hope you take part in the 5K and eat port-a-pit with me.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director at J.F. Hurley Family YMCA and has already signed up herself, her dogs and her four granddogs for the Anywhere, Anyway 5K.

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