Runners, walkers, and baby strollers are welcome at the 6th annual Pufferbelly 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, August 8. The event takes place at Parkview YMCA off Dupont Road and includes a 5K race, kids’ fun run, games, live music, pony rides, food and more.
Designed to highlight and raise funds for the Pufferbelly Trail, over 2,500 people have participated in the 5K event during the past several years. Last year over 700 runners and walkers took part, and event planners are looking to increase that number this time around.
Monies raised from the event will go to further the work being done on the Pufferbelly Trail corridor that, when completed, will stretch 80 miles from Pokagon State Park near Angola to Ouabache State Park in Bluffton, cutting through downtown Fort Wayne in the process. It’s a conversion of the former New York Railroad line and is a nod to the steam engines that once roared through the area.
“Events like the Pufferbelly 5K are a critical part of expanding the trails,” said Lori Rose, Fort Wayne Trails’ executive director. “As we work with the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County, and our neighboring counties to extend the Pufferbelly Trail into downtown Fort Wayne and beyond, it takes an army of supporters to continue the progress.
We are so grateful to all the Pufferbelly 5K volunteers and participants who raise funds every year to keep the trail moving forward, so that thousands more people can safely and conveniently use the Pufferbelly to travel to arts and cultural destinations, schools, retail areas, downtown, and neighboring communities in the future.”
“The Pufferbelly Trail is the type of regional opportunity that can transform our community,” said Rose. “People are clamoring for more connectivity to the trails, and the Pufferbelly contains the perfect mix of residential, retail and cultural destinations that will make it a monumental attraction for our region.
Similar trail corridors, like the Monon in Indianapolis, have resulted in property value increases of over $140 million, and we’re seeing comparable desirability of the trails here from residents, transplants and area employers alike.”
Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. at the Parkview YMCA, 10001 Dawson’s Creek Blvd., with the Kids’ Fun Run taking place at 8 a.m. and the 5K at 8:30 a.m. Pre-registered participants can pick up their packets August 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Parkview YMCA.
The race will take place on the nearby Salomon Farm Trail and existing Pufferbelly Trail from the YMCA to Wallen Road and all participants will get the use of the “Y” for the day including its pool and splash pad. Music, food and kids activities will follow the race. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for youth while kids can take part in the fun run for just $5. Timing chips will be used to ensure accurate times are kept for all runners and prizes will be given to winners in various categories. A team challenge is available this year. A minimum of 5 participants per team is required and includes a VIP packet pick-up line, photo opportunity, a Fort Wayne Trails smart phone armband for the first 250 team members, and prizes for the team with the most participants. This year’s title sponsors are Carson’s and Fort Wayne Pediatrics.