PUSH 5K run/walk participants head down the trail near William Penn Stadium

OSKALOOSA — A group of supportive fitness enthusiasts have a motto that also happens to be their group name: Persist Until Something Happens.

The annual PUSH 5K run/walk is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. The group will gather at the shelter just to the east of William Penn Stadium ten minutes before the event for drawings and giveaways. The run/walk will be on the nearby trail.

PUSH founder and event coordinator Angie Noel said There is no registration or entry fee.

“There is absolutely no obligation, money-wise for anything,” she said. “Just show up with a smile and a determination.”

Noel said everybody can go at their own pace.

“Some have it down pat to where they can get it done in 20 minutes,” she said, “and some of us, including myself, it takes about an hour. It’s not timed.”

This is the fifth year for the PUSH 5K. Noel said it all began when a small group of people got together to go for short walks.

“Those short walks became longer walks. And those two people became a bigger group and I guess little by little it grew,” she said. “We started a Facebook page within that first year and we’ve got a little over 400 members now. It’s really grown.”

Members have gone from just walking to entering 5Ks, mud runs, half-marathons and a few members have completed full marathons.

PUSH members aren’t just Oskaloosa or Mahaska County residents, Noel said.

“Just recently, there was a member that came up from Ottumwa and wanted to know where the 5K route was. She had never done 3.1 miles before, but she wanted to do it the morning of the 5K,” she said. “So we took off and I showed here where that route was. When we were done, she said ‘I think I can do this.’ I said ‘no, I know you can do this.’ So she’s planning to come Saturday.”

The first 5K, Noel said, has had around from around 50 to 100 participants in past yaesr.

“So it depends. This year, we’re doing the 5K a lot later on in the season, so it might be a little bit chillier in the morning,” she said. “We had a really good turnout last year.”

All ages are welcome to participate in the event, Noel said.

“We’ve had all ages from a few months old to 75,” she said. “We kind of let the runners go first and then the walkers second and there were cheerleaders and we actually have a dance team that’s going to come and cheer for us this year. We have Tom the Balloon Man, who makes his appearances around town and surrounding towns, he is going to be there that morning making balloons for the kids.”

Noel said she has enjoyed looking back at memories from past events, from t-shirts to testimonies.

“It was neat to see all the changes in the different shirts and styles we’ve had over the last five years and the amount of people that have come in,” she said. “We just try to hold each other up and support each other and inspire and keep each other motivated. It’s a neat group.”

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at aholland@oskyherald.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

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