Make yourself and the planet healthier

Earth Week 5k Run/Walk scheduled in Norwalk
John Benson
Apr 23, 2014
Invariably the universal idea behind Earth Week is to take better care of the planet; however, that theme can be expanded to including living a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise.
At least that’s the mindset of Norwalk Parks and Rec Recreation Director Niki Cross is hoping to promote with the Earth Week 2014 5k Run/Walk & Fun Run taking place the morning of April 26 in the Linwood Ave. area. Awards will be provided to the top 2 places in each 5k-age category with the top five 5 walkers receiving a custom made recycled award. There’s also a kid-friendly Fun Run beginning immediately following the 5k Race that varies in length: ages 4 and 5 (1/8 mile); ages 6 and 7 (1/4 mile) and ages 8 to 10 (1/2 mile).
We talked to Cross about this relatively new event that she hopes acts as a gateway experience to other more challenging Norwalk competitions. 
How long has Norwalk been hosting the Earth Week 5k Run/Walk & Fun Run?
This is our fourth year. It started out years ago as a green team event, we were utilizing that time period to have a green fair and 5k run. We had some recycling going on. But unfortunately the green team is no longer in existence. We just wanted to continue the 5k run. It’s a little different the way we put the run together than your normal 5k. We have it as a run-walk combination and then we also have a fun run, which is pretty typical.
So what part of the event is different from similar runs?
As far as the giveaways go, instead of giving away a T-shirt like most races do, we’ll give away an item that’s 100 percent recyclable. Also, the awards are usually pieces of scrap of something, either cross-sections of trees that we image the age groups into for the awards, or this year we’re going to go with granite scraps that we’re going to etch the logo into for awards. We work with the Huron County Solid Waste Management District and they are actually going to give out mini trees to all of the participants. So that’s a little different than your typical 5k.
As far as the Norwalk Parks and Rec Recreation department is concerned, how does the Earth Week 5k Run/Walk & Fun Run fit into the mission statement?
We are definitely huge advocates for fitness. There is no doubt about it so what we did was the reason we started creating all of these endurance events is because we want to encourage people to get out and exercise and do things that are interesting and they’re passionate about specifically themselves versus just putting one thing out there. We also offer a century ride, which is a 100-mile bike ride, as well as an adult and kids triathlon in the summer. So we’re trying to reach out to different groups.
So you’re hoping people take baby steps with the Earth Week 5k Run/Walk & Fun Run and eventually that leads to participation in the century ride or triathlon?
Finally, will you be taking part in the 5k?
No, I’m not able to. I always tell our staff and volunteers, if there’s ever a time I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I’ll actually run the race. There’s a lot of work.
Entrance into the Earth Week 5k Run/Walk & Fun Run is $12 ($15 race day) for the 5k run and $5 Fun Run. For more information, call 419-663-6775 ext. 26.