More than 600 runners of all ages battled strong cross-winds Sunday, November 11, 2012 during the Valparaiso Half Marathon, which supported the United Way Power of Youth Council. Runners from all over the region were cheered on by local volunteers and Power of Youth Council members.
The United Way Power of Youth Council consists of Porter County high school students who are dedicated to creating a positive perspective of youth through community service. Currently, the group has focused on raising awareness of teen self-esteem problems. All proceeds from the Valparaiso Half Marathon will be used to help support youth self-esteem programs.
"The Valpo 13.1 was an amazing experience this past weekend. Probably because it meant a group of us were getting together to run, but this weekend just happened to be a race. If you saw us out on the course, you probably couldn't tell it was a race. We were talking, smiling, laughing, sharing water and taking turns running into the wind (although John and Lauren were the official wind blocks)," Heather Henderlong, owner of Extra Mile Fitness Company in Valparaiso said. "I guess this type of camaraderie is typical amongst the runners of Northwest Indiana. We help each other out with training runs, sharing advice and words of encouragement. You can find it at any pace for any distance: Packs of people joining together to achieve their goals. This weekend just happened to be a group with a goal of 1:40 or better. Most of us made it to the finish line reaching the goal, sharing hugs and smiles! Deep down we know that without the group, it would have been harder to get to the finish line which is what makes running so unique as an individual sport."
The course was complete with water stations, Clif Shot Gels and a ValpoLife Mile 6 Party.
"At a distance I saw LIFE at Mile six and a half and I was so looking forward to seeing my TEAM! When they saw me they were so energetic and motivating! It really helped me get ready for the gale force wind that hit me when I rounded the corner around mile seven," Theresa Potesta, a race participant and ValpoLifer said. "Dan Sturgell, a fellow runner, was there handing out high-fives! My goal was so much easier to reach with thanks to them!"
After runners completed the race, a post-party was held with music and food. Race day timing was provided by T&H Timing. Check race times and top finishers at http://www.thtiming.com/valpohalfmarathon.html.
Potesta commented on the race results after they posted, "It's amazing how quickly the race results were posted by T&H Timing -on the same day! Very impressive!"
The Valparaiso Half Marathon was sponsored by: Extra Mile Fitness Company, Porter Regional Hospital, Coastal Valley Water Company, Billy Jack’s Café & Catering, Third Coast Spice Café, Asics, Rusthead!, Clif Shot, Great Lakes LABS, Simko Signs, McAffee Animal Hospital, NIPSCO, ValpoLife, Regional Federal Credit Union, Realty Executives, Kennedy Mazda, Northwest Indiana Ten, Fast Coffee Services, Bulk Transport, Fleetwood Signode, Valpo Velvet, Chester Inc., Family Express and People’s Bank.