THONOTOSASSA — A band of teens is on a crusade to break the cycle of obesity among youths. They’re doing this by encouraging healthier lifestyles.
Toward that end the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA Teen Leaders Club is hosting Run with the River, a 5K event, on Feb. 28 at Hillsborough River State Park, 15402 U.S. 301, Thonotosassa.
The fee is $20 per person, and check-in begins at 8 a.m. The run starts at 9 a.m. To register, log onto www.tampaymca.org/leaders5k.
The run is being organized by and all proceeds benefit the Teen Leaders Club, made up of teenagers in grades seven through 12 at 10 YMCA sites throughout the county. The program’s primary purpose is to develop leadership skills, be of service to others and to foster physical fitness.
The Run with the River event — open to the public — is mainly meant to raise awareness of the club, according to Marilyn Gyselinck, Northwest Hillsborough YMCA membership and program director.
“This event really sparks an awareness of teen obesity and advocates healthy living,” added Valrico resident Amanda Recupero, 19, a former member of the YMCA Teen Leaders Club and now a co-adviser.
New Tampa Leaders Club President Rachel Baber, who serves on the 5K planning committee, believes people should consider participating in the run because it’s being held at what she considers a beautiful location — and it’s a lot of fun.
“This event also gives us teens a chance to show the community what we are capable of,” she said. “We are raising awareness for the very worthy cause of childhood obesity while raising money to help us widen our impact.”
Emily Colburn of the Plant City club is also among the 5K organizers. She encourages families and groups of friends to sign up.
She stressed that the event is perfect for the elite athlete as well as for someone who is just beginning to try to get in shape.
“The 5K isn’t just for runners because we welcome walkers, too,” Colburn said. “And there will always be somebody cheering you on at the finish line.”
Contact Gyselinck at [email protected] ymca.org for more information.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]