A two-in-one 5K doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s a wonder why it’s not so common. On a cold and windy Saturday morning, Extra Mile Fitness Company and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County hosted Extra Mile’s Series Championship Race through the streets of Portage.
The race may of been a championship run for Extra Mile, but the Boys & Girls Club was at the heart of it. All of the proceeds went to the organization and the race took place just outside of the doors at their Portage location. This was their first ever 5k hosted by the Club, and all of the proceeds of the run benefits their activities, programs, and supplies for the ever growing number of kids who enter their doors.
“It was our responsibility to put on this race for their runners, and I think it’s a mission accomplished,” Cathie Dull, the Assistant Director of Resource Development for BGCPOCO, explained. “It’s really an honor to work with an organization that is so highly regarded in the running community. To have them say that they want to help us with this race was a tremendous opportunity.”
Ryan Smiley, the President of BGCPOCO, agreed with Dull by saying that being the benefactor of the Championship Race really puts their efforts on the map. “We’re very grateful to be the benefactor in this race. We really look forward to continuing this in our Portage community,” he said.
The idea of the two organiations working together began when the club contacted Extra Mile about having a race of their own. “We work with a lot of different charities and causes that are interested in organizing races,” Todd Henderlong, co-owner of Extra Mile Fitness Company, stated. “About the time that we had been thinking about hosting another Championship Race, the Boys & Girls Club contacted us about their interest in hosting a 5K or a 10K. We brought a marriage together between the two and this was the result. The burden of putting a race together was all on them, and they did a great job. If they decide to host another race we’ll be right along with them to help them out.”
The event not only helped out Extra Mile and the Boys and Girls Club, but also a local school. The Portage Club’s Little Igloo one-mile youth dash called for many students from local schools to participate, and whoever brought out the most won “the Mayor’s Cup”, awarded by Mayor James Snyder and $500 would be donated to the school. Barb Iddings and Maureen Crowely were on hand to pick up the award for South Haven, and couldn’t be happier about their rewards.
“We both sponsor the running club for the schools, so this will go straight to our kids in the club and it will be able to sponsor them,” Iddings explained. “It really promotes great health in our kids and that’s what our club is really about. We’re so excited, and especially the kids are excited, to be able to use this for our all of our 5ks that we do over the year.”
The 5K run took place right after the one-mile dash, and around 160 people made their way across the start line. The event was split up into a Champion’s Division and the “Open Division” - for all of the runners who weren’t a part of the Championship Series. Through the hard wind and the cold temperatures every single runner crossed the line with a hearty congratulations and a cold hard medal in their hands. Dave Bradley, a regular runner for Extra Mile, said the race was a great finale for the season.
“I’ve just been running the races all year, their championship series. They put on good races so I always make sure I come to them,” Bradley explained. “The course was real nice. This was actually one of the top notch races I’ve been to all year.”
Overall the race was a great way to hold a testament to two great organizations in Porter County. This may of been BGCPOCO’s first ever race, but with the future ahead of them, it looks like the finish line for their 5K isn’t anywhere in sight.