Runners remain socially distanced

Runners remain socially distanced as they began the 5K mile run.

Families, community members and city officials gathered at Old Litchfield Road and Wigwam Boulevard to participate in the 10K, 5K 1K and 1-mile “fun run” for walkers and children. 

Kiwanis Litchfield Park Run benefited Friends of the Rec. and saw a collaboration with several sponsors, including BackFit Health + Spine Chiropractic, for the Feb. 27 event. More than 300 participants registered virtually and in person to enjoy the atmosphere, raffle prizes and awards. 

All participants were entered into a raffle with a chance to win prizes like restaurant gift cards, activewear and recreation passes.

Virtual participants can take part in the event through March 27. Race winners will be updated through results.racetimers.com, where participants’ times and names are categorized.

Trisha Kramer, the Litchfield Park community and recreation services director, reflected on the development of the event that has been occurring longer than the city has been established. 

“The city has been working with Kiwanis Club of Litchfield for more than 30 years on this event,” Kramer said. “It’s been going on since before the city was incorporated in 1987.”

Kramer said the key to the event’s success has been the community’s input and involvement. 

“For us, this event is part of keeping up the spirit of our community,” she said. “It’s important to us to continue to offer activities to our community members and the visitors of our community so that they can remain active and mentally healthy.”

Kramer said the staff ensured CDC guidelines were met during the event. Signs detailing mask etiquette, hand hygiene and social distancing were placed throughout the race milestones to keep participants in compliance.

“We’re doing all we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at our events, and I think we’ve been doing a good job,” Kramer said. “People are pretty respectful of each other and stay in their groups.”

Among those at the run were children. Kramer said it is important for children to be involved in events like this during the pandemic. 

“It’s part of keeping them active and healthy, especially now,” she said. “Kids have not been able to be in school as much and have been stuck at home and not out with their friends. Being able to do this in the open air and open space just helps encourage them to not just sit in front of the TV but to get physically moving.”

The title sponsor, Kiwanis International, is a global community of volunteers with 550,000 members in 80 countries and many geographic areas, including the West Valley. They provided refreshments, water and hand sanitizers.

“Kiwanis International, in general, is an organization that helps children in any way that we can, and this is a family event,” said three-year Kiwanis volunteer Robert Sanchez. 

“For many years we have provided the background stuff like waters and volunteers.”