The American Heart Association Indianapolis Heart Walk and 5K Run was hosted this past Saturday at the Michael A. Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI Campus.
The annual charity event was attended by thousands of participants in support of the American Heart Association. According to the AHA website, participants and sponsors raised $585,453 in support of the organization’s heart health initiatives, which include improving patient care, advocacy efforts, raising awareness of prevention efforts, and outreach programs targeting at-risk minority communities.
Early arrivers to the event had access to health screenings, free heart-healthy snacks and water, and an infield filled with activities for kids–including bag races, obstacle courses, and giant, inflatable, velcro-covered soccer ball targets.
On the main stage, local radio personality Sean Copeland of B105.7 presented a performance by the Avon Aerial Orioles, a performance and competition jump rope team from the Avon Community School Corporation.
Back on the infield, kids lined up on the track for the Kids Fun Run, a raucous and chaotic mad-dash of indeterminate length.
The opening ceremonies were presented by WTHR personalities John Stehr and Chuck Lofton. Stehr spoke about his recent personal experiences with his heart health and presented awards for “most improved heart health” to seven local community members.
Many of the participants present had been personally affected by heart disease. Gabe and Cheryl Finchum, a married couple from Brookville, Ohio, came to the Indianapolis Heart Walk for the fifth time this year with miniature dachshund Josie in tow. They both know all too well the risks heart disease can present.
Gabe’s brother, Chris, died of a heart attack while swimming at the age of 42.
Gabe himself has heart disease, and had advice for those who may also be suffering from the illness.
“Just get started. Eat well and exercise every day. Once you get going, you’ll feel so much better. It’s all about the quality of life you want,” he said.
After the opening ceremonies, participants lined up on New York Street to begin the walk and run. The walkers followed a path up to 10th Street and back down, while the runners followed New York Street to the west, turned around just past the White River, and returned.