by Dan Holland
More than 180 participants braved a cool, drizzly morning Oct. 28 to participate in the 10th annual Halloween-themed Ken Ganley Companies and Brecksville Kiwanis Trick-or-Trot 5K Run and 1-Mile Family Fun Run/Walk. The event took place on the Brecksville-owned Blossom Hill property and environs.
Runners and walkers were encouraged to dress up in Halloween costumes for the event, with proceeds benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Kiwanis Youth Services. Volunteers manned several trick-or-treat candy handout posts along the 1-Mile Run/Walk route, which consisted of two completed laps within the immediate property. A new 5K course, which follows an anticipated new city-planned path that weaves in and around the property, was utilized for the first time during the event.
Costume contests with prizes, which included categories such as best hero/villain, cutest kid, best duo, funniest, most creative, scariest and best overall, were held after the race along with award presentations to the top overall male and female 5K finishers and the top finisher in each age category.
According to Denise Gawlik, who served as chairperson for the Kiwanis Club of Brecksville in organizing and running the event, more than $7,000 was raised over each of the last two years.
“Last year, we donated $5,000 to the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District’s English as a Second Language program to help them purchase curriculum and translation devices for the 200-plus Ukrainian refugees who enrolled in the district last year, many of whom did not speak any English,” she explained. “This year, some of the proceeds will be used to defray the district’s pay-to-participate fees for students in the BBH Middle School’s Builders Club and the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We also keep funds to support our free events such as Santa Delivery and our annual Easter Egg Hunt.”
Refreshments, participant finisher medals and candy and toy fun bags were made available to all participants. Stations were also set up for pumpkin decorating, mask making and family photos.
Top overall male finisher in the 5K was 14-year-old Mitchell Creel of Independence, with a time of 19:22. Overall top female finisher was Leah Steele of Brecksville with a time of 20:18.
Lauren Mewhinney, of Middelburg Heights, completed the 1-mile walk with all four children in tow. “My husband, Jamie, works for the city of Brecksville Recreation Department, so that why we’re here today – for him. We also talk about how we do the races for exercise and to get out in the community. The candy is also nice.”
Brecksville resident Erin Figer and her daughter, Giovanna, completed the 1-mile course while pushing her two nephews in a stroller as her twin hounds in “hot dog” costumes trotted alongside. They were joined by Marie Marzich of Cleveland and her son, Joseph, both dressed in costume.
“We came out today to support our friend, who is heading up this community run/walk for the Brecksville Kiwanis,” Figer said. “And the kids got a lot of candy.”
Brecksville residents Stephanie Simon Bartos, candidate for Brecksville City Council, and her husband Brian Bartos, completed the 1-mile walk with their children, Sophie and Bennett. The foursome was dressed in all Mary Poppins-themed costumes.
“We love supporting the Kiwanis and supporting the community; it’s a great event and we love participating in it,” said Simon Bartos said. ∞
Photo (above): Giovanna Figer, Hudson Dorsey and Oliver Dorsey (in stroller) and Erin Figer with her two “hot dogs,” pose with Marie Marzich and her son, Joseph, in costume during the Oct. 28 Turkey Trot. Photos by Dan Holland.