There has been a recent Renaissance in the Somerset-Pulaski County community, as the Lake Cumberland Runners will be heading up the former Journey to Fitness running and walking series, which was sponsored by Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH).
Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital will serve as the main sponsor of the local running and walking series, but it will now be tabbed as the Lake Cumberland Run/Walk Series.
Gordon Turner, who is now the president of Lake Cumberland Runners, explained the reason for the changes to the series. Even though the name has changed, LCRH will be the title sponsor of the series and the Lake Cumberland Runners will now manage it.
"We were presented with the opportunity to take over the management of the local running series, Journey to Fitness, that has been operated by the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital from its inception," began Turner. "You will still see the hospital's involvement with the series, as they will continue to be the financial sponsor of the race series. However, Lake Cumberland Runners will now manage the series. We have renamed the series as the Lake Cumberland Run/Walk Series to represent our community of runners and walkers."
Turner and the rest of the Lake Cumberland Runners are excited about the opportunity to manage the local running series that has really taken off the last few years.
"We are excited about the series for the Lake Cumberland area, and we would like to see everyone come out, whether it's to walk or run and to help all our local charities," Turner continued. "Most of all, we want to help promote the overall health and wellness of our community. There is such joy to seeing lives changed and watching folks the finish line of a race."
While Lake Cumberland Runners may be taking over the series, they have been around the Somerset-Pulaski County running community for nearly 30 years. Lake Cumberland Runners was established back in 1995 to promote overall health and fitness in the community, as well as to support local runners - both young and old.
The founding runners of the group were Joe Weigel, Jeff Parmalee, Steve Daffron, Steve Seifert, Jack Evans, Bob Brown, Charlie Denney, and David Zwick. Along the way, Mark Hamm, Louie Childers, Pat Jenkins, Jon Harville, and Peggy Acey all become involved with Lake Cumberland Runners.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, races in the town of Somerset were uncommon, except one - the Cool Run. The Cool Run was established to support the local cross country and track programs for their upcoming seasons, and that is still the goal of this race today.
Lake Cumberland Runners still supports the local running teams, but they have added a shoe scholarship program to help a boy and girl runner from each area school purchase a pair of running shoes. The Burnside Mile, which is a one-mile race in the fall at Burnside Marina, helps fund the running shoe scholarship program.
Today, Turner serves as the president of the local running group, while David Smith is the vice president. Nathan Frey (secretary), Shawn Daugherty (treasurer), Daniel Roberts, Adam Gullet, and Amy Liddle round out the board for Lake Cumberland Runners.
There are a couple of races within the next couple of weeks for folks in the community to take part in - the Over My Head 5K (June 1) and the Cool Run at Midnight (June 15). The Over My Head 5K supports the local homeless shelter, while the Cool Run will benefit the local cross country and track teams.
For more information on the series and to sign up for upcoming races in the series, check out www.lakecumberlandrunners.com.
Another great activity coming this summer is the Kentucky Elite Running Camp, which is a local running camp for middle school and high school students from July 25-27. Phoenix Racing and Roberts, a former state champion at Wayne County, will team up to lead the running camp. For more information on the camp, visit www.kyeliterunning.com.
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter - @MChilders_22