DuBOIS — The annual DuBois Community Days 5K Race, now in its fourth year, is one of the most popular attractions of this weekend’s event, according to co-chairmen Andy Werner and Rusty Akers.
“Community Days already has the parade on Saturday, we have those big venues at the stage, so we’re always trying to do something different with Community Days to improve it, make it a little different, a 5K seems to be a pretty big event now,” said Werner. “It kind of highlights the day on Saturday. You start off in the morning with a race, and then the parade in the evening which kind of concludes Community Days.”
Though they don’t participate in the race, both like to run.
“There’s a lot to do that day,” Werner said.
Community Days Co-Chairman Jeff Baronick approached Werner and Akers separately saying, “I think maybe we should start a 5K race because he knew I ran,” recalled Werner. “He knew Rusty ran and Rusty is involved with some other organizations so we teamed up and started working on it.”
Akers said he started running about 10 years ago when he lived in Danville.
“The running community there was developed, there were a lot of races, a lot of runners, and it was easy to find activities to do on the weekend,” Akers said. “When I moved to DuBois, it was hard to find a race. So I started making some noise just saying how great it would be. Community Days was saying the same thing. Then we kind of met and we said this would be a great idea to add to this event. And you (Werner) and I have been doing it ever since.”
And it’s been growing ever since, said Werner.
As of Wednesday night, there were 468 runners pre-registered. Thirty percent of that number is from outside of Clearfield County, Akers said, noting there are people coming from as far away as Texas, Florida and Georgia to run in it.
“And the weather looks good so I would plan on more registrants,” Werner said.
One of the reasons why the race, hosted by Miller Brothers Furniture, is so popular is because it’s free — like most things at Community Days are except for food and drinks sold by local non-profit organizations.
“I don’t know of many other races that are free,” said Akers.
The other reason is probably the roads they run on, Werner said.
“We are fortunate that we can use the city to our advantage,” said Werner.
“The Parade Committee’s celebration of the city, giving away so much that they do, and helping the non-profits at the same time, this is a way to celebrate in the streets,” said Akers. “The Walkway in DuBois is awesome. It’s very convenient to have a race and a 5K. We’re unique because we are free and we can run in the streets. And that really takes an army.”
Safety is what they spend the most time on in preparation of the race.
“That’s our biggest concern. We close the roads and we watch and monitor and we stand on every corner. It’s a lot of work,” Akers said.
“It’s a good race, it’s a safe race and we have the police department and fire department involved,” Werner said.
Werner said they try to change the route a little every year just to mix it up a bit.
The 5K will start at the DuBois Area Middle School this year and runners will go left on Liberty Boulevard towards the downtown.
“Now if this route works well, we might keep it for another year or two,” Werner said.
The 5K race begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Check-in is between 7-8 a.m. Organizers request that people pre-register by visiting the website at www.DuBoisfire.com/5k tonight.
The 2018 DuBois Community Days will be held Friday and Saturday in the DuBois Memorial Park. The Firemen’s Parade is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.