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5K caps Huntington Health Revolution Challenge

Apr. 14, 2013 @ 12:22 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Nada Gravely of Hurricane is a reformed couch potato, and she couldn't be happier.

Gravely was among about 200 runners participating in the 5K Huntington Health Revolution Challenge in downtown Huntington on Saturday morning. The event marks the end of the 90-day challenge for Tri-State residents to get healthier.

"I'm 43," Gravely said. She finished with a time of 27:40 for her first-ever 5K and is planning to participate in another 5K next month. "It's the best thing I've ever done."

"Before I was lazy," she said. "I feel better now. I go to the gym five days a week. I'm going to keep it up. I'm happy, very happy."

That was just the kind of reaction Dan Bailey, race director, was looking for.

"Huntington Health Revolution is a 90-day challenge to the community to get healthier," Bailey said. "This is our third 5K race."

The group challenged residents to post their weight losses on a website. Those who did lost a total of 900 pounds over the past three months, Bailey said. "It's awesome to see those numbers."

About two dozen members of Genesis 5K, a Hurricane area group, took up the challenge. Many of the 23 who participated in the race were participating in their first 5K, said Matt Young, a trainer working at the Power Up Gym in Hurricane.

"We've been practicing for this," said Cindy Ball of Hurricane. "I feel wonderful. My goal was to finish. It was on my bucket list. It helped to do this as a group. We push each other. I'm very committed."

She wasn't discouraged by her 40-minute time in the race and plans to keep running.

"It's not my last 5K," she said. "I can do it."

Kayla Edwards, a Marshall University student from Troy, Mich., was the top female finisher in the race. Edwards, who is majoring in sports marketing and management, used to be a diver, but switched to running after she hurt her wrist.

"It's fun to be out here and be competitive again," Edwards said. "I usually run at Ritter Park, but I've been doing a lot of treadmill work. This weather was perfect. It reminded me of home. As it gets hotter, I have a harder time."

Competition was the byword among four members of the MSU Huntington Coast Guard squad participating in the race. Macidj Tarnawski had the best time of the four at 23:03. The squad has 35 active-duty and 15 reservists at Barboursville.

"I'm not a runner, so it was good," Tarnawski said. "We have physical standards to keep up. We also want people to know we're part of the community."

His commanding officer, Lee Boone, said the race and "ultimate Frisbee" the group planned to participate in later in the day "helps our morale."

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