By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — The Darke County Health and Wellness Challenge held its annual kickoff event on April 16. “Thank you for coming out on this dreary Saturday morning,” began Jordan Francis, director of Wellness Services. “Attendance is a little low, but the weather isn’t what we hoped for.” However, the chill and drizzle did not dampen the spirits of the approximately 30 people who gathered to celebrate last year’s medal winners, and embark on a new season of races and fitness challenges.
Terri Flood, vice president of Business Development at Wayne Healthcare, has been involved in the program for eight years. “It all began with a group of like-minded people, focused on getting out and moving, health, and wellness,” she stated.
Participants may enter the Wellness Challenge as an individual, or a team of at least five members. Entry is automatic upon registering for any of the events in the series, beginning with the Mad Dash for Missions 5K in Ansonia on April 23. Individual points are awarded to the top 10 finishers in their respective age divisions, in each event.
The top three total points earners for the 2021 Wellness Challenge in each age division were presented with medals at the kickoff event. Mackinzie Billenstein earned first place in the 11-to-14 year-old female division. She runs track and cross-country at Ansonia, participating in the discus and 4 X 800 meter events. Her stepdad, Eric Hanna, received a second-place medal in the 35-to-39 year-old male division.
Lee Emrick was recognized for walking 750 miles with the “Move in the Darke” program, which allows participants to record their miles running, walking, or swimming, to reach a year-end goal. Emrick became involved in the Wellness Challenge when his wife passed away six years ago. “Her best friend is into this, and thought it would be a good idea for me to get involved, and be around people. My first race was the Firecracker (5K) in Ansonia in July 2016,” he said, “and I walk 4 and a half miles every day.”
Randy Bashore placed first overall in point totals. “I run every race, and I win my age division every time,” he stated.
After the presentation, the gathering proceeded from Wayne Healthcare to YOLO Park in downtown Greenville, for refreshments, raffle prizes, and an optional workout session, led by Robyn Feitshans, Wellness Coordinator.
For more information, visit www.darkecountywellnesschallenge.com, or email [email protected]
Daily Advocate reporter Tammy Watts can be reached at [email protected]