Looking for a way to improve your fitness and benefit your community? Lace up your running shoes, grab a bottle of water and check out these five philanthropic 5Ks taking place in the Toledo area this spring and summer.
1. Girls on the Run | May 20
Girls on the Run aims to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” The after-school program began in 1996 in North Carolina, and is now in all 50 states. The curriculum helps girls build relationships and develop life skills, such as making decisions and setting boundaries. Every three-month program concludes with a non-competitive 5K.
This year’s 5K, from Girls on the Run of NorthWest Ohio, starts at 9am on May 20 at the University of Toledo on 2801 W. Bancroft St. The 5K route through the University of Toledo campus will include three water stops and “Cheer Teams” to encourage the participants. The entry fee for runners 12 and under is $20. For runners 13 and older, the “Early Bird” fee is $25 through April 30, after which it goes up to $35.
2. Toledo Zoo Medical Mutual Dart Frog Dash | May 20
The 13th annual Dart Frog Dash begins at the Toledo Zoo’s Main Plaza on Saturday, May 20, at 2 Hippo Way. The 5K course primarily includes the residential areas around the zoo, and is certified by USTAF (USA Track & Field). The event also includes a Kids’ Fun Run, divided into age groups, that takes place entirely within the zoo. Participants can compete in a timed race along the 5K route, or just enjoy a walking tour of the area. The top three overall male/female finishers and overall master male/female (40+) finishers will receive a free Toledo Zoo Membership!
Registration before Sunday, May 14, costs $26, which includes a T-shirt. Late registration costs $28, and a T-shirt is not guaranteed. Registration on the day of the race is $30. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Toledo Zoo and its species conservation efforts.
3. Race4Justice | June 24
The proceeds from the sixth annual Race4Justice 5K will go to benefit the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, a collaborative program serving impoverished children in Lucas County and their families. This race begins and ends at Center for Equal Justice, located at 525 Jefferson Ave in Toledo, on Saturday, June 24. The certified 5K course will take runners and walkers through downtown Toledo and along the river.
The 5K begins at 9am, followed by a 1-mile walk that begins at 9:05am. Participants in Race4Justice can register online for $25 through June 10. Between June 10 and June 23, the registration fee increases to $30 per person. On the day of the race, starting at 8am, registration is $35. Registered participants will receive T-shirt, as well as post-race refreshments. Awards will be presented for overall time, overall masters in the 50+ age group and age group awards.
4. Feet on the Street Run/Walk | July 15
The seventh annual Feet on the Street 5K begins Saturday, July 15, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on 315 South College Drive in Bowling Green. Proceeds will benefit Wood Lane Residential Services, a nonprofit that serves Wood County individuals with developmental disabilities. Besides raising thousands of dollars, this event is also a way for many of Wood Lane’s residents to be involved in their community.
Registration cost is $25, and includes a Tshirt—although the shirt is not guaranteed if the registration is received after June 27. The 5K run begins at 8:45am, but the event also includes a 2K walk that starts at 8am. Families are welcome to participate, and even leashed, well-behaved dogs can join in! The 2K route will include stops for water and treats. Participants are also eligible for goodie bags, sponsored by Glass City Federal Credit Union.
5. KoolKids Are Rare 5K | July 22
This first-time event is being hosted by Transform My Beauty, an organization that supports individuals with serious diseases, including providing free wigs to cancer patients. The event is taking place on Saturday, July 22, at 11am, at Side Cut Metro Park in Maumee. The race aims to raise awareness and funds for children with rare diseases, and provide an opportunity for community and socializing even for those who cannot join the run.
Registration closes at midnight the night before. There is a registration fee of $30, as well as a $2.50 fee for signing up online. Participants will receive a T-shirt, wristband, water bottle, and certificate of participation. Boy and girl first-place race winners also will receive trophies at an award presentation after the race, where light refreshments will be available.
Never done a 5K before?
Jeff Brough, who is doing the Dart Frog Dash for his fifth consecutive year, is a seasoned 5K runner who has participated in the Glass City 5K, as well as several triathlons. He recommends the Toledo Dart Frog Dash for 5K beginners, noting the route through residential areas and that “You get a lot of good support to direct you along.”
For 5K newbies, he has a few suggestions
for getting into shape:
- Start slowly.
- Use a treadmill if it’s too cold to go outside.
- Make sure you get experience running outside. Running on pavement is not the same as on a treadmill.
- On the day of the race, make sure you warm up! Stretch and walk around a bit, and stay hydrated.