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Fitness events scheduled in conjunction with the Regatta

WORTHINGTON -- Regatta Weekend has come to mean much more than windsurfing and music, as two other outdoor events involving exercise have become annual fixtures.

The Y-PALS 5K Regatta Run and Walk will take place for the sixth consecutive year Saturday. Registration for the run begins at 7 a.m., with the race starting at 8; sign-ups for the walk commence at 8 a.m. with start time at 9.

Y-PALS Coordinator Greg Wede said the run and walk event is an important fundraiser for his organization.

"Y-PALS is a mentoring program where there is a one-to-one mentor, similar to what a Big Brothers Big Sisters program would be," Wede explained. "The mission is to make a difference and to provide a difference for young kids in the community."

Youths between the ages of 6-16 may be mentored through the program. While this marks the sixth year Y-PALS has coordinated a walk in conjunction with the Regatta, it's the fourth year for the run.

"It (run) was started by Doug Bakkene at the American Legion and after two years, they approached the YMCA to see if we would take it over," Wede recalled. "The run draws usually 80 to 110 runners in any particular year, and the walk is somewhat weather-related -- we'll draw up to 150 people if the weather's nice."

Runners will race on a course that begins at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Seventh Street and runs counter-clockwise along Lake Okabena. The finish line is at the exit driveway at Chautauqua Park.

Medals will be presented to top finishers in the following classes: 11 & under; 12-16; 17-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; and 60+. Post-race food and beverage will be available in Chautauqua Park.

Walkers will proceed from Chautauqua Park to the bike path at Centennial Park, and then head down Ninth Street to the old Armory building before finishing back at Chautauqua Park.

Registration fees for both the walk and run include T-shirts. For more information, call 376-6197.

Bike event returns

The third annual Worthington Regatta Bike Ride will take place Saturday. Registration will be from 8 to 9 a.m. at Centennial Park, and the event formally gets under way at 9.

Kenton Meier is again coordinating the ride.

"It started with the Chamber's sports and recreation committee talking about whatever events we could do. Some of us liked bike rides, so we decided to try one here," Meier said.

The ride event is comprised of 15-, 30- and 50-mile routes. The registration fee includes a t-shirt and lunch ticket; there are also rest stops along the route and a support vehicle.

Turnout for the bike ride has "been in the low 40s" for its first two years, Meier said. Unsurprisingly, weather almost certainly plays a role in the number of participants.

"We're hoping to build on this," said Meier, adding: "We're hoping for calm winds in the morning; the wind can pick up in the afternoon."

Bike helmets are encouraged. For more information, call the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce at 372-2919.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

(507) 376-7320