GET MOVIN’: Passport to Run/Walk/Roll is in the works

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Hancock Health is looking to revive the Hancock County Passport to Run/Walk/Roll, which encourages participating in a variety of charitable 5Ks, bike rides and other fitness-related events throughout the county.

HANCOCK COUNTY — Enthusiasm for New Year’s goals tends to wane around this time of year, but a new motivator to get fit may be on the horizon.

Hancock Health is looking to revive the Hancock County Passport to Run/Walk/Roll, which encourages participating in a variety of charitable 5Ks, bike rides and other fitness-related events throughout the county.

Organizations were approached in November and again this month to gauge interest in re-introducing the passport for 2023, which would reward those who finish a minimum number of events with a limited edition finisher’s medal.

“Five organizations replied that they would be interested, a couple were not sure if they had the ability to offer their event again or not, and some we feel we don’t have the correct contact info for any longer,” said Teri Gottschalk, an Education Support Navigator for Healthy 365, a division of Hancock Health.

Those expressing interest so far include: the Donut Dash benefiting Alternatives, Inc.; the Super Hero Dash benefiting Hancock4Kids; the Neon Run benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County; the Hancock Flat 50 hosted by Hancock Health; and the Turkey Day 5K benefiting the Hancock Hope House, Greenfield Parks, Greenfield Main Street.

A few other race organizers are also considering joining the fray, Gottschalk said.

Ashley Waterbury-Carpenter, chief operations officer for Alternatives, Inc., thinks the passport is a great way for local nonprofits to support one another.

“When we did the passport before (in 2019), we had the best attendance at our 5K we’d ever had. The passport really helped get the word out there,” she recalled.

She also loves that the passport enables nonprofits to support one another, and to promote fun events that both support local organizations and keep people active.

“It enables us to act as a united front in supporting each other and spreading the word within the community,” she said.

After positive feedback that first year, 17 nonprofits had signed up for the 2020 passport when COVID hit, forcing the majority of events to be canceled or held virtually.

Gottschalk hopes that 2023 is the year to bring the program back, but is trying to get at least 10 events committed before moving forward with promoting the passport.

“We are still trying to make contact with nonprofit organizations that host runs, walk or ride events,” said the coordinator, who hopes finalize details in early February so that the passports could be offered for sale by March.

Participants pay a small fee for the passport, which they can get stamped at each featured event they finish. The fee is yet to be determined.

Gottschalk said the next two weeks of planning are critical as organizers seek to secure more events as well as sponsors to make the passport reality.

Those who are interested in adding their event or sponsoring the passport can contact her at [email protected].