5K features four-legged friends

By Ryan Carpe rcarpe@civitasmedia.com

April 6, 2014

GREENVILLE - The Darke County Friends of the Animal Shelter held their first 5K race this Saturday to a huge crowd of human and canine runners.

The event was held in conjunction with the “Wayne Healthcare Challenge” and was held at the Darke County Fairgrounds, which featured a winding route that even snaked through the Coliseum.

Around 250 runners participated, which was a fantastic showing for the first year of the event.

“When we first thought about this, we said if we had 100 people we’d be happy,” said Race Director Jeannie Grosch. “And it’s just exploded and everyone’s bringing their dogs. It’s great.”

The 5K race was designed as a fundraiser for the Darke County Dog Park (Scentral Park), which is located in Greenville on County Home Road. The park was completed last year by members of the Darke County Friends of the Shelter, and was funded solely through fundraisers, grants and donations. However the upkeep expenses, mowing and weeding are ongoing, and the organization still has plans to improve the existing facility with additional landscaping and amenities.

Entrants were encouraged to bring their dogs to participate in the 5K, and roughly 100 dogs turned up on Saturday rariing to go.

“I wanted to support the shelter, because it’s such a wonderful thing,” said Laurie White, who participated in the event with her two-year-old labrador mix, Murphy. “The dog park is a great thing for the community and our dogs. I just think it’s a wonderful event.”

There were no restrictions placed on the animals, as they were invited to run, walk, be carried or even relax while being pushed in a wagon orstroller.

And as an added bonus, the event featured homemade dog treats for our favorite four-legged runners.

For us lowly humans, the event provided free Boston Stoker Coffee, hot chocolate and free Marco’s Pizza and breadsticks.

Also during the run, a band from Brookville called “Providence Road” treated the participants to some light rock music.

At the conclusion of the event, all awards were presented as doggie-bone-shaped sugar cookies, expertly crafted and donated by Eileen Litchfield.

The event also held a .33 mile kid’s fun run, which was offered at no cost.

In the past, the Darke County Friends of the Shelter have raised funds through holding animal pictures with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, as well as building calendars with many of their successful adoptees.