There’s no better way to kick off spring than with a little exercise, and Ringing in Spring is there to do just that. Nearly 2,000 people participated in the 21st Annual Ringing in Spring on a beautiful Saturday morning at the Valparaiso Family YMCA. The race attracts runners, walkers, and families to take part in their 5k/10k course that runs throughout the north side of Valpo.
Over the past 21 years, the Ringing in Spring has become a Valpo staple in the running community, the Valpo community alike, and the unofficial kick off to the running season for many. From year to year the race grows, and this year there were over 1,800 pre-registered runners. The money raised from the race benefits the Valparaiso Family YMCA and their programs.
Ruth Cavanaugh, the Lead Building Supervisor for the Valparaiso Family YMCA and who started the race 21 years ago with Mike Jones to help benefit the YMCA, said that the community’s outreach and support through the numbers means an incredible amount for the organization.
“This is a fundraiser for the Y, and it helps many, many people.” Cavanaugh stated. “Our focus is to build strong families, strong communities together and it’s greatly realized and appreciated by the community who support this race. This year has been phenomenal and everyone who came are incredible.”
It was clear throughout the race; from before the shotgun start and as everyone made their way across the finish line, that Ringing in Spring was a hit for everyone as much as it was for the YMCA. Within those hundreds runners there were co-workers, families and friends running together for the fun of it. It didn’t matter whether it was a walker or one of the first place finishers, the race was a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning. The race also attracted many people who have never participated in a race, or are just starting out on the craze.
Trish Prendergast ran with five other people through the 5k course and said that the morning couldn’t of been a better way to spend a Saturday morning.
“It was a great morning!” Prendergast exclaimed. “This is only my second 5k within the past year or so and I can’t wait to do more - even to come back to this race next year. The weather was perfect out there today and I think we all did really well.”
It wasn’t only the first-timers who want to keep coming back, it’s also runners that have been making this their spring race destination for years. Karen Stoor, who ran the 10k won the 10k Female Masters award, said that she has been coming back to the race for the past six years, and will continue to do so for years to come.
“Ringing in Spring is such a great race.” Stoor stated. “I really love this race because a lot of the people here are here for their first experience in running either a 5k or a 10k, and it’s great to see that so many others want to be part of this. After I finished a few of us ran back out to the course and cheered the rest on. I think that’s what is really great about this race - that everyone is involved.”
For the past twenty years Ringing in Spring has been ringing in strong across not only Valpo, but the Northwest Indiana community. The race promotes health, fun, community and a sense of togetherness. For a race that’s had such a great longevity in Valpo, Ringing in Spring definitely has found the right formula that keeps it running strong, and it will keep doing so for years to come.