RunWalkDance fights obesity

The inaugural Jefferson County 5K RunWalkDance started at the Regional Park amphitheater and finished at the Saracen Landing early Saturday morning.

Local participants, young and old, participated in the event throughout the breezy morning. Besides the racing, there were many sponsored activities for kids and adults including blood

pressure checking, face painting, farmers market complete with fresh fruits and vegetables, a mini walk trail, yoga, and some Zumba.

Saracen Landing manager Trudy Redus was extremely happy with the turnout of the first race and looks forward to future races.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Redus said. “We’re so excited to have this many at an inaugural event. We are ecstatic!”

James Titus, member of Set the Pace, LLC, was the official timer of the chip timed race. Titus told Redus that Pine Bluff was a great place to have the race and he looks forward to coming back.

“He (Titus) thought we had a beautiful course,” Redus said. “He suggested that we look at possibly certifying our race because (the scenery is beautiful), so we are going to look at doing that for next year.”

The Jefferson County 5K hosted a total of 104 participants and one dog. Runners and walkers were given a chip timer on their shoelaces that let them keep their official times. The winner of the event was Arkansas-Pine Bluff freshman Ghiavonni Robinson (20 minutes, 57 seconds), the second-place finisher was fellow student Daniel Machooka (21:37), and the third-place award went to John Proctor (21:50) of Forrest City.

The first female to cross the finish line was Tameka Crosby (30:46) of Pine Bluff. The oldest competitor was the 67-year-old Rev. Cecil Roberts (36:58) of Pine Bluff, who finished eighth overall of the male competitors.

Redus was very thankful for all the sponsors who came out to support the event. Some of the sponsors included Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Health Care, Brookshires, Curves, Juice PLUS, and UAMS.

The Jefferson County 5K was held to remind people of the importance of a healthy lifestyle choice and that nutrition and fitness are two major factors that can help lower the obesity rate.

Redus was all smiles as she praised the event while giving her insight on obesity and how to get more people to sign up for next year.

“I think we should look at some more partnerships” she said. “We have a lot of running clubs in our community. With this being a national focus, when you talk about childhood obesity, (the childhood obesity rate is a problem).

“When you look at the childhood obesity rate just for Jefferson County, when you have 40.6

percent of your children obese, this is the time to run. It’s time to bring awareness to childhood obesity.”