|About 178 runners and walkers plowed through snow and below-freezing temperatures today (Feb. 2) to participate in the 36th annual Groundhog Gallop, presented by the Center for Family Health.
The 5K race started and ended at the Middle School at Parkside and wove through the area’s streets and along the Intercity Trail.
With up to 3 inches of snow on the ground, many runners complained that they had to stop several times to avoid falling on snowy and icy patches. Nevertheless, race organizers said participants’ spirits were high, fueled by friends and family who came out to support them.
“We are not sure if the groundhog saw his shadow today, but the outpouring of runners and walkers shows that people enjoy getting out and participating in a good event,” said Terry Langston, who coordinated the event for the Center for Family Health.
The 3.1-mile event is the first run of the season and a linchpin in the MLive Media Group/Jackson Citizen Patriot’s Running Series.
This year’s overall walker winners are: Female Open, Deborah Kline, 37:22.0; Male Open, David Swarts, 26:26.3; Female Master, Robin Brigham, 38:10.3; and Male Master, David Delaet, 40:35.0.
Overall winners in the running category are: Female Open, Chris Vincent, 21:46.0; Male Open, Rob Schwartz, 18:32.4; Female Master, Julie Bloomfield, 22:09.9; and Male Master, David Jordan, 19:17.3.
All participants received a dry-fit, short-sleeve running shirt.
The sponsors included MLive Media Group/Jackson Citizen Patriot; Meridian Health Plan, McDonald’s restaurants in Jackson and Albion, JTV, Braun’s Home Furnishings, White and Hotchkiss, Dawn Food Products Inc., Cunningham Construction and Langston Enterprises Inc.
The Center for Family Health is a federally qualified health center. It has a main facility at 505 N. Jackson St. in downtown Jackson, and it operates three school-based clinics – Northeast Health Center, Teen Health Center at Parkside and Jackson High Health Center. The Center has been serving Jackson for more than 20 years.
Today it offers affordable care through Family Medicine; Women’s Health; Pediatrics; Dental, specializing in children’s oral health but providing some emergency treatment for adults; and Pharmacy. The Center is proud that it will not turn anyone away because of inability to pay.