Although the 1980s-themed 5K had never been hosted before, more than 470 runners showed up at Lakeland Park to “cut loose” for the Footloose 5K and children’s 1K on Saturday.
The 5K, which was put together by the Burns Harbor Parks Department Director Kim Burton and committee member Darcie Rogala, will help Burns Harbor raise more money for their children’s programs.
“We’ve never had anything like this before," Burton said. "We’ve done little fundraisers here and there, but we wanted to do something big to bring in more children’s program to our park."
The ‘80s theme was chosen because there was nothing with a similar theme in Northwest Indiana.
“I run a lot of 5Ks and there wasn’t [an ‘80s-themed] one in this area,” Burton said. “We did an ‘80s theme in hopes that it would draw a lot of people to it.”
The theme allowed for a costume contest and a visit by the ‘80s cover band, The Breakfast Club.
Tom Taylor, race director and owner of the race coordinating company Cause 2 Compete, knew from experience that the 5K needed to be themed.
“We were tossing around different ideas, and then one day, Darcie and Kim came up with the idea for an ‘80s theme, and it was a great idea. Footloose 5K. It was great idea and we just moved on from there,” Taylor said. “It was all them, and it was an incredible idea. Obviously, you can see from the turnout, people are excited.”
Taylor was approached by Burton and Rogala last fall because of his company’s involvement with nonprofit organizations.
He’d said like to see the Footloose 5K continue and has already talked with Burton and Rogala about getting other events set up for Burns Harbor.
“They’ve done an incredible job. I’ve put on a lot of races and partnered with a lot of different people, but they’re the best,” Taylor said. “They’ve been on it, they’ve had great ideas, they’ve worked hard, they pushed all the right buttons. This race is as big as it is and run as well as it is because of them. I just kind of pushed them in the right direction, and after that it’s been all them.”
During the races, brother-sister duo of Emily Silvas and Bryon Berg took both the 5K and 1K by storm.
“It was my first win, so I was really excited about it, but I was also pretty tired afterwards,” 10-year-old Emily said.
Emily has only been running for a couple months, but says she really enjoys the activity.
“I just like pushing myself to different challenges,” Emily said. “It’s just fun.”
Berg, unlike his younger sister, is no novice to the running world. He runs for Michigan City High School and trains by running 40 miles a week. This is the family’s third race this summer, but he still appreciated the Footloose 5K.
“It’s just a beautiful course,” Berg said.
Berg said both he and his father were very pleased that the children took first in their races.
“I can’t believe my little sister ran that fast, though,” Berg said.
One of the many sponsors for the race included 1K sponsor Bounce ‘N’ Around.
“It’s great for the parks department,” co-owner Jessica Bailey said. “It’s a beautiful course, and it makes people aware of the park out here.”
Rogala explained in a similar fashion the point of the 5K is, “That people realize that the park is here, bring more of a name to Burns Harbor and bring people out to our town to use the park.”
The Footloose 5K will see many more summers to come if Burton and Rogala have anything to say about it.
“I just want to say thank you for everyone that supported us for this event, and we hope to see you next year,” Burton said.