By STEVE CORNELIUS, CJ Sports Editor
For most of his adult life, Dr. Joe Weigel has been an avid runner.
And for most of his adult life, Dr. Joe Weigel has been an avid local spokesman for health and fitness.
Sixteen years ago, Weigel spearheaded the organization and beginning of the Cool Run — an annual five-kilometer race/walk.
At the start of each of the prior 15 Cool Run races, Weigel was not loosening up his legs for the upcoming 3.1-mile run and he was not mingling with his fellow competitors while toeing the starting line.
For the past 15 years, Dr. Joe Weigel has been feverishly planning, organizing and leading the execution the highly-successful local running event. Weigel has sweated over every little detail of the annual road race in an effort to make the event enjoyable for the hundreds of runners who participate each year.
“I have always been interested in two things,” Weigel said. “I was interested in the fitness of the people inside the community in which I lived in. It has always been my passion to make this area more fit than it has been and that led me to push forward and actually organize a race. Secondly, I feel like anyone who lives in a community owes civic service and the best way that I could provide civic service at the time was to help fund the local schools’ track and cross country programs, and try to become their major fundraiser every year.”
After 15 years of attracting thousands of new and old runners, and walkers, the Cool Run has definitely made a positive impact on the community’s outlook on better fitness. And the Cool Run has been able to raise thousands of dollars for the local shools’ track and cross country programs.
This past Saturday, the former meet director took on a new role at the annual Cool Run. Dr. Joe Weigel finally got to run in the race that he has worked so hard to build and nurture over the past 15 years
“I am happy after a long period of time of administrative work to let the administrative part of the run rest in newly capable hands, and it was enjoyable for me to just be able to spend time with my co-runners,” Weigel said.
And while Weigel finished fourth in his age division and 63rd overall in the local race, his tireless work and vision for overall community fitness has made him a winner in the human race.