WEIRTON - Family, fun, fitness and food was the focus of the annual Marland Heights 5-K race and fitness walk Friday evening.
Kevin Elias, program director of the city's parks and recreation department, said about 150 kids and adults had registered for the road race and walk.
There was a cookout for all participants after the races.
KIDDIE RUN — The Marland Heights community race and fitness walk had races for children in various age groups. Family and friends cheered on the kids and, after all the races and walk were completed, gathered for a cookout. -- Mark Law
OFF TO THE RACES — Dozens of runners laced up their shoes Friday evening to participate in the annual Marland Heights 5-K race and fitness walk. The race has been an annual event for the past two decades, according to race officials. -- Mark Law
MORE OF THEIR PACE — Those choosing not to run the 5 kilometers in the Friday evening Marland Heights race opted for a more casual walk along the course. Although there were some serious walkers that knew how to pick up the pace. -- Mark Law
There were races for various age groups of children, the 5-K run and a fitness walk.
"It is a unique event. It is a race, but more of a community event to promote wellness. There aren't too many races like it. It is more for the casual runner or casual walker. It isn't about the race time. We have real good community participation," Elias said.
But Karen Highfield of Colliers disagreed it isn't about the competition.
She classified herself as a serious walker, putting on her walking shoes almost everyday.
"I'm a little bit kooky about it," she said.
Highfield, who has participated in the Marland Heights walk the past three years, said she finished first last year in her 60 and above age group.
"It is more competition for me," she said.
The Swan family of New Cumberland brought eight family members to the event. Half walked and the other half ran.
Phyllis Swann said she had walked in the event before.
"We do things like this together. Since I had done it in the past, they all said they would like to do it with me," she said.
Dan Spickard of Weirton was a first-time runner in the event.
He said he had just started running during the past year, running in Angelina Estates a couple days a week and doing other cardio workouts three times a week.
"It is great for the community," Swickard said of the event. "It is something to promote health, something you don't see much of around here. I love that they had the kids participating. It gets them started at an early age," he said.
Dawn Trushel of Weirton was there with her two sons, Ethan, 7, and Tyler, 2. The kids ran in races for their age group and then mom laced up her running shoes to participate with the other adults.
"It'll be a blast. I'm excited for them. It is a good way to promote physical fitness for kids," she said.
(Law can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)