After years of yo-yo dieting and inactivity, Kim Warner decided it was time to start moving in a healthy direction.
“I’m 53 years old and I’ve never ran a 5K before so I thought I’d give it a try,” she said, enrolling in Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Races for All Paces, which is set for Saturday, May 14, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. Warner has been training for the race for a couple of months with a group of fellow 5K first–timers using the “Couch to 5K” program.
However, competitive by nature, Warner isn’t content just to finish the race. “I want to finish well in my age category,” she said. In fact, Warner has already run three practice 5Ks in anticipation of the big event. “It’s a challenge for me and I’d like to improve my time,” she said. In addition, Warner has convinced her youngest son, Gabriel, to run the Races for All Paces 5K with her.
Warner has actually been on a mission to get fit since October 2015, when she joined Weight Watchers. “I didn’t have health issues, but I just didn’t feel good hanging out and watching TV,” she said, gradually gaining weight through the years. With an unwavering commitment, Warner has lost more than 81.5 pounds in the past six month. “That’s an average of 3.1 pounds a week,” she points out. “And I have 21 more pounds to go.”
While she faithfully tracks everything she eats, “I decided not to eat sweets anymore,” she said. She has also made a personal commitment to stick to her exercise plan, which often includes attending exercises classes before and after work.
Warner’s son has also been on a mission to get healthy and has lost more than 50 pounds. “He just eats healthy and he’s the one that encouraged me to give up sweets,” she said. Warner’s oldest son, Hayden, was the top finisher in the 5K at Races for All Paces a few years ago.
Race for All Paces organizers are excited about offering race courses at EIU again this year, with all races beginning and ending at O’Brien Stadium. There’s a half marathon, as well as an individual 10K, 5K Run/Walk, 1-Mile Run/Walk, and even races for young children, including a “Toddler Trot” for kids ages 3 to 5 and a “Diaper Dash” for kids under age 3.
In addition, a 10K Relay/Predicted Time Challenge provides an opportunity for friends and co-workers to work together to improve their fitness levels. Teams of six will run the 10K (6.2 miles) with each member running about one mile. Area businesses are encouraged to gather co-workers and team up for the 10K Corporate Relay Challenge. The teams challenge each other by predicting the time it will take them to finish the race. The team finishing closest to its predicted time will receive $200, along with a trophy. The second place team will be awarded $100. Every participant receives a medal.
Teams of six can register for the 10K Relay Challenge until Wednesday, May 11. The registration fee is $96 per team. While pre-registration is required for relay teams, people can register for all other races up through the day of the event. Course support for all events includes water, sport drinks, fruit and porta potties, will be available at various stages. This year, race bibs will feature a QR code that can be scanned for real-time race times.
There will also be a Toddler Trot and Diaper Dash on the grass next to the O’Brien Stadium parking lot, giving even the youngest kids an opportunity to start moving in a healthy direction.
To register, go to www.sarahbush.org. T-shirts and medals are guaranteed for all runners registered (excluding Toddler Trot and Diaper Dash). Please note, registration fees are non-refundable and are used to support Healthy Communities programs. Parking is available in the O’Brien Stadium parking lot.
For more information, contact Laura Bollan at (217) 345-6828. Race courses are available at www.sarahbush.org