AP NEWS

Holiday 2K a bright idea

November 19, 2018

Those at Franke Park had a choice Sunday night about their identity: Were they Speedy Santas, Electric Elves or Steady Snowmen?

That’s how participants were invited to line up for the Fort4Fitness Fantasy of Lights Family 2K Walk, an event that provided a sneak peek of the annual drive-thru holiday lights display.

The attraction opens 6 p.m. Tuesday and runs nightly through Dec. 31. It is hosted by Blue Jacket Inc.

Getting to tour the lighted displays by foot appealed to walkers Sunday.

“It’s just fun to see all the lights,” said Maddi Dager, 12.

She attended the Fort4Fitness event with her sisters, Lilli, 7, and Abbi, 11; mother, Jeanette; and grandmother Kim Valentine.

The fastest walkers, or Speedy Santas, were invited to lead more than 1,000 participants through the looped course that began and ended near Pavilion No. 1.

Many participants welcomed the festive atmosphere and added to it with Christmas-themed clothing and accessories, such as Santa hats, blinking holiday-light necklaces and : as was the case for the Dagers : fleece holiday onesies.

Runners also got into the spirit for Saturday’s 5K. Fort4Fitness staff recalled a family who dressed and posed as the popular Elf on the Shelf.

Picture taking was welcomed after the race. Along with cups of hot chocolate and souvenir ornaments, the warm and brightly lit pavilion offered the perfect photo-op spot. A Fort4Fitness backdrop was flanked by silver trees : one topped with a red Santa hat, the other with a red-and-white striped elf hat trimmed in green. A box of props : such as reindeer antlers : invited creativity.

Together, the 5K and 2K attracted over 2,700 participants, said Sami Blair, community relations coordinator for Fort4Fitness.

The events fit into the nonprofit’s mission of promoting healthy living through fitness, Blair said.

Laura and Phil Schweder expect their 6-year-old son, Nathan, won’t want to participate in the 2K walk forever.

“He likes to run,” Laura Schweder said.

For others, however, Sunday evening’s walk provided enough of a challenge.

“I have something to prove to myself that I can do it,” Valentine said.

asloboda@jg.net

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