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Grab your cape and spandex: Save the day for Baxter Wellness Center Superhero 5K

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 8:58 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 9:12 a.m. CDT
(Submitted Photo)
Participants show off their superhero costumes at last year's Baxter Wellness Center Superhero 5K at Neal Seales Sports Complex. This year's event kicks off April 29 at 7:30 a.m.

BAXTER – It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superman... and he is running a 5K?

If you are traveling through Baxter April 29, you may notice the Man of Steel, Spiderman, Wonder Woman and a few of their friends swinging through town, but don’t be concerned. The only villain they will be facing is an inactive lifestyle.

To help fundraise for new equipment for its facility, Baxter Welless Center will host its second annual Superhero 5K from 7:30 to 10 a.m. April 29 at the Neal Seales Sports Complex.

“It was fun because I like exercising and stuff. We got to run around the track and dress up (as superheroes),” 9-year-old Alexis Dart, who participated in the run last year, said. “I made my own superhero (for the run). Her name is Leopard Girl... I made her because I like leopards.”

The run encourages participants of all ages and fitness levels to come dressed as their favorite superhero and celebrate the community.

“It brings out your inner kid... Kids get to use their imagination and just play. They get to pretend that they are that character,” Gennypher Popenhagen, president of the Baxter Wellness Center said. “Who doesn’t want to get to dressed up as a superhero? This will give you a chance to do it.”

The run/walk, which will be at the complex on West Station Street near Northwest Avenue, will feature three different runs — a 5k, a one-mile and a 1K Kids Fun Run. According to Popenhagen, having three different distance runs allows families to bring their children and enjoy promoting a healthy lifestyle in their superhero get-ups.

“There are definitely runners in the town, but being in a small town, there isn’t an overabundance of adult runners,” runner Jill Halter said. “The race involving the kids and having a superhero event was just awesome for my kiddo... It is fun to run a road race in your hometown, know the route and have people cheering for you that know you.”

This themed run began last year, as the first 5K fundraiser to help revitalize the center and replace old workout equipment.

“The funds of the run will all go to benefit the wellness center. One thing that has been requested by numerous of people is a power tower, as well as just maintaining the wellness center,” the Baxter Wellness Center president said. “We don’t want to wait 10 years and go back to ‘now we need fundraise and try to get it back to a good facility.’ We want to always make sure that it is a facility worth using.”

Last April, 50 participants — 25 adults and 25 children — joined the superhero festivities. According to the committee president, last year’s run raised a nearly $1,000.

“We were trying to figure out what was healthy, what was fitness geared, what is going to involve our community. A 5K of course. The little ones can’t run a 5K, so we did a 1K for them. Now, we needed to make it more fun,” Popenhagen said. “We really had a mix (of people). We had a bunch of gals who just wanted to walk the 5K and they came out all dressed up. It was honestly a mix of everyone... It is great family fun for everyone.”

Following this year’s fitness festivities, participants can enjoy chocolate milk donated by Anderson Erickson Dairy, banana and apples sponsored by Hy-Vee and water funded by the wellness center. Participants in the Kids Fun Run will receive a medal. The first two men and women of each age division will also receive an award.

“(My two) kids absolutely loved it. They thought it was just a cool idea to have superheroes running around town and at the track dressed up,” participant and Baxter Wellness Center committee member, Jason Hill said. “It is a good idea to have it in the community instead of going somewhere else like Des Moines, Newton or a bigger city... Fitness is a huge part of life, right now.”

Registration, which starts at 7:30 a.m., costs $30 for the 5K, $18 for the one-mile and $12 for the Kids Fun Run. The start time for walkers is 8 a.m. Runners begin at 8:30 a.m. The one-mile event starts at 8:45 a.m. and the Kids Fun Run kicks off at 9:30 a.m.

Pre-registration fees costs $25 for the 5K, $15 for the one-mile and $10 for the Kids Fun Run. Participants can pre-register at Baxter City Hall, 203 S. Main St.

Baxter Wellness Center is free to the community weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents can also gain access to the center from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, by purchasing an extended card for $20.

For more information, find the Baxter Wellness Center on Facebook.

Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at areyes@jaspercountytribune.com

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