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5K Race to Zion benefits church, child-care center

5K Race to Zion benefits church, child-care center

WILLIAMSPORT — Do you like to move your feet? If you do, well, then, you can. Do you like to run in loops? Then of the 5K Race to Zion, you could be a fan.

The Dr. Seuss-themed event set for Saturday, April 8, in Williamsport will raise funds for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at 35 W. Potomac St. and Kinder Haven Child Care Center, which is a ministry of the church and is housed there. A 1/2-mile fun run for ages 10 and younger will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K will commence at 8 a.m.

The Rev. Kimberly Nunberg, pastor, said serious runners will take off from the starting line first, followed by casual runners, walkers, and those with strollers and/or dogs on leashes. The course is a primarily flat out-and-back route that begins on Vermont Street across from Zion Lutheran and includes the C&O Canal towpath.

Cash prizes of $150, $100 and $75 will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers, and medals will be given to the top male and female overall finishers in the following age groups: 12 and younger; 13 to 15; 16 to 19; 20 to 29; 30 to 39; 40 to 49; 50 to 59; and 60 and older.

The cost to participate is $5 for the kids fun run; $25 for the 5K for those who sign up online by the end of today; $30 thereafter.

All that activity is bound to stimulate some appetites, so the church is offering a pancake breakfast — including sausage, bacon and eggs, but no green ones. A freewill offering will be collected for the meal.

The breakfast is “an added bonus to the race,” Nunberg said. “It was a great way to get people here on our campus,” she said of last year’s inaugural event.

Last year’s race was solely a fundraiser for Kinder Haven, in which there are 80 children ages 2 through prekindergarten enrolled, some of whom come there full time during the week and some for only part of a day, Nunberg said.

The event was scheduled near Dr. Seuss’ March 2 birthday, so it seemed appropriate to have a theme that honored him, she said. A human dressed as a famed hat-wearing cat will be on hand to distribute medals, and participants are encouraged to come dressed as a character from one of Seuss’ books.

“We knew that themed races do very well,” Nunberg said.

Selena Wilkes, who chaired last year’s race and also is in charge of this year’s, said 150 people turned out on the snowy 2016 day to run and walk to aid the child-care center.

“We’re really looking forward to a warmer day this year,” said Wilkes, adding that the inaugural festivities raised $4,000, and the goal this year is to collect $6,500 to $7,000 to be split between the center and the church.

Wilkes, who also is president of Zion Lutheran’s church council, said hosting an event such as the 5K fits with the church’s motto of GLOW: Generations Living Out the Word. It’s a way to bring the church and its offerings to the attention of people of all ages who are looking for some spiritual enrichment.

The 42-year-old native “River Rat” put her athletic background to use when organizing the 5K Race to Zion. As someone who played volleyball, basketball and softball at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., and was a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association Futures Tour from 1997-99 and 2002-04, she appreciates the importance of exercise.

“This is just a natural for me,” said Wilkes, who was inducted into the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame in 2005, adding that being involved is a way to give back to her church and community.

She also wanted to do something to promote interaction among family members in a beautiful setting, giving young and old a breather from their technology-infused days.

Wilkes described the Race to Zion as “the one event that really brings the church and the community and the child-care center together. I want it to become an automatic ... every year, we do this race.”

If you go ...

WHAT: 5K Race to Zion
WHEN: Saturday, April 8, 7:45 a.m. 1/2-mile fun run for ages 10 and younger; 8 a.m. 5K; packet pickup will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, and from 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. on race day at Zion Lutheran 
WHERE: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 35 W. Potomac St., Williamsport
COST: $5 for kids fun run; $25 for 5K through today online; $30 thereafter
CONTACT: Go to or the 5K Race to Zion Facebook page
MORE: Pancake breakfast will follow races in the church’s fellowship hall; freewill offerings will be accepted. All proceeds from the events and meal will benefit the church and Kinder Haven Child Care Center, a ministry of Zion.

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