MOTIVATION TO MOVE: Passport prompts participants to take part in local 5Ks and other events


HANCOCK COUNTY — Lace up those sneakers and grease those bike chains, the Passport to Hancock County 5K Series is back once again.

Participants are invited to complete at least seven of 11 featured events on the passport this year to earn a special medal.

Michael Davis of Greenfield was the first to complete the passport last year, running seven different 5Ks throughout the county.

“It’s a good way to stay motivated because you can run an event just about every month,” said Davis, 63, who has completed 80 marathons and mini-marathons in addition to 5Ks and other running events.

He proudly displays the medals he earns in shadow boxes in his home. “I’ve got so many I need to build a few more,” said Davis, who has been running for the past 50 years.

Passport organizer Teri House Gottschalk, Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for Hancock Health, said the program is a great motivator to get or stay active while supporting local causes.

Passport booklets can be picked up at any of the events or any Hancock Health Wellness Center, with locations in Greenfield, McCordsville and New Palestine.

While the passport challenge is free, there is a cost for individual events hosted by various organizations throughout the county.

The first two events take place April 27 — the Donut Dash 5K hosted by Alternatives, Inc. in Greenfield and the Heroes for Health 5K hosted by the Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. in Fortville.

Julie Patterson, assistant director of the Greenfield Parks Department, looks forward to completing the passport again this year after completing her first one in 2023.

“I went to several of the events and had a great time,” said Patterson, who has been an avid runner for the past 20 years.

While she loves to run, Patterson said she also loves the opportunity to support a number of local nonprofits by taking part in their various events.

“The passport motivates you to put the races on your calendar and to train for them,” said Patterson, who is currently training for the Derby Festival mini-marathon to be held April 27 in Louisville, Ky.

While that event will no doubt draw thousands of participants — just like the Indianapolis 500 Marathon does each May — the events on the Hancock County 5K Series draws more manageable crowds.

“When you go to the (Indianapolis) marathon and some of these other big events where there’s 10,000 people, it’s just overwhelming,” said Jeff Somers, an avid runner and Vice President of Business Development at GBC Bank in Greenfield.

“You can’t find a place to park, you worry about getting to the start line on time and there’s so many people, so it’s nice to go to these smaller events where you can support a good cause and not feel like you’re going to get run over,” said Somers, who runs three times a week.

Patterson also enjoys the smaller community events.

“They’re all very different with all kinds of different themes, so each one has its own fun little twist,” she said.

Patterson was particularly happy to receive a doughnut at the end of last year’s Donut Dash 5K.

She’s also a bit biased toward the Turkey Day 5K, a Thanksgiving Day event hosted by the Greenfield Parks Department.

Having a passport full of local events spread out throughout the year is great motivation to stay in shape while helping to raise funds for various events, she said.

“It’s nice to support these organizations throughout Hancock County and to have a little skin in the game while knowing you’re supporting some wonderful causes,” said Patterson.

To learn more about the Passport to Hancock County 5K Series, visit or contact Gottschalk at 317-468-4743 or [email protected].

Following are the events included on this year’s passport:

April 27 – Donut Dash 5K

April 27 – Heroes for Health 5K

May 18 – A Run to Remember

May 25 – 500 Splash Dash

June 15 – Hancock4Kids Superhero 5K

July 27 – Greenfield Wellness Center 5K & Parkinson’s Fundraiser

Aug. 10 – McCordsville Path to Fitness 5K

Aug. 17 – Sister Cities 5K

Aug. 24 – Hancock Flat 50

Sept. 21 – The Landing Place Recovery Walk

Nov. 28 – Turkey Day 5K