In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, the first annual 5K Run/Walk for Wellness was held on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at Sinnemahoning State Park. Community partners, Dickinson Center Inc., and Sinnemahoning State Park sponsored the event to bring awareness to mental health issues and how outdoor recreation helps to foster mental wellness.
The morning session included a 1 mile nature walk presented by Kim Lott, Environmental Educator from Sinnemahoning State Park and Laura Sypien, a Certified Peer Specialist at Dickinson Center. Kim brought the world of nature alive with the various plants, animals, and natural features of the park. She also introduced many park newcomers to the valuable programs available at the park. Laura offered helpful ways to use nature as a wellness tool to heal from mental illness, as well as keeping yourself mentally well. The focus being on the prevalence of mental illness, and the recovery based treatment options that are available at Dickinson Center, Inc.
Forty-six runners and walkers participated in the afternoon 5K race. The course showcased the beauty of the park, weaving across roads, trails, and natural surfaces from the new Park Office and Wildlife Center to the Forty Maples Day Use Area. The race included the following participants: Katie Kightlinger, Carla Milliron, Amanda Hershey, Rose Hershey, Denise Geyer, Jamie Eckert, Patty Symans, Steve Symans, Patrick Watkavitch, Richard Watkavitch, Jennifer Ingram, Bill Daly, Nacy McBreen, Jodi Taylor, Ashley Johnson, Roger Deller, Daphne McNamara, Jeff Brown, Mindi Brown, Andrew Brown, Shaylynn Nichols, Jeanette Nichols, Craig Miller, Isaac Miller, Michele Marie Long, Karen Dubots, Jonathon Huff, Monique Vanburgen, Chelsea Vanburgen, Katie Sasala, Kari Shoemaker, Jeffery Weaver, Lexi Nichols, Gabe Benbenic, Heidi Eastman, Cara Geelen, Raina Height, Crystal Carpenter, Raila Shortt, Toni Wales, Larrie Kriegish, Linnea Darrin, Tim Walck, Ralph Serafini, Steve Erway, and Kendra Faustick.
The first runner to cross the finish line in just over 20 minutes, was Jeff Brown of Coudersport. He won the the 20-39 age group and with that, 2 movie tickets to the newly digital, Coudersport Theater. Second place was Steve Erway of Coudersport. He also won the 40-59 year old group and a Wash & Vac from Stoltz Coudersport. Other age group winners include Shaylynn Nichols (12 & Under) who won a $10 gift certificate to Nanipops, Chelsea VanBergen (13-19 age group) who was awarded one free pizza from Fox’s of Coudersport. In the 60 & Over group, a $15 gift certificate for Costello Inn went to winner Roger Deller.
Dickinson Center, Inc. and Sinnemahoning State Park wish to thank all of the local businesses who supported the event through donations: Coudersport Theatre, Big Mike's of Austin, The Costello Inn, Nanipops of Shinglehouse, Fox's Coudersport, The Lakeview Store, Cooney's Mustard, Perry's of Austin, Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy, 95.7 The Pig, K94.9, Solomon's Words for the Wise, Shop N Save of Coudersport, Howard's Home Furnishings of Shinglehouse, Stoltz of Coudersport, NAPA of Coudersport, Northwest Savings Bank, The Meadows, Potter County Visitor's Association, Endeavor News & Copy Katz, and many volunteers from Sinnemahoning State Park and Dickinson Center, Inc.
The event was well received and many participants look forward to next year.