Sunday morning, hundreds of runners met at the beautiful Indiana Dunes State Park on the shoreline of Lake Michigan to compete in the 2015 Hero Half Marathon and 10K race. The impressive landscape provided drew the attention of runners from approximately 12 different states.
This was the third year of this fun themed scenic race. Some great additions were added to the menu this year. Race Director Crystal Sands, made some connections and included multiple charities this year to get involved to add to the superhero theme of protecting and giving.
“The biggest thing in this year we brought on the Indiana State Police and we are donating a portion of our proceeds to their K9 unit," explained Sands. "They are putting it towards protective vests for the dogs while they’re out with the officers.”
There were many state K9 units in attendance. Chris Eagles, alongside his K9 counterpart Axel, explained how much this event meant to them.
“The donation means everything, not only for the dog but for the family, these dogs come home and live with us. Knowing the incredible outreach the people have done, it’s overwhelming.”
The dunes is one the the major tourist attractions in Northwest Indiana, which may have something to do with the impressive amount of out-of-state runners. There is nothing quite as peaceful as a cool fall morning run through the trails.
Sands agreed, “Dunes State Park is the tourist attraction of Northwest Indiana. If you haven’t seen it, this is the race to do.”
Many runners would gladly make the same claim. Linda Ruzich, a participant in the 10K race said, “Love coming up to the dunes and running.” She continued, “The course was nice except for adding the hills at the end, the beach was scenic.”
After the race the athletes were given participation medals and offered several recovery beverages and foods. Following the completion of both the half marathon and the 10k race, there was an award ceremony where the top overall male and female finishers in each age division were awarded plaques, while the top three in each age group were awarded medals for their hard work.
The hero race was successful in all its goals.They raised money for the State Troopers K9 unit, they provided runners with a scenic course through the Dunes, and they achieved a fun atmosphere with their costume encouragement.
The third annual Hero race was successful and will be making a return next year for another beautiful run through the dunes.