HealthWorks! run draws colorful crowd

TUPELO – The first public events for HealthWorks! was an overwhelming and colorful success.
Nearly 300 people showed up at Ballard Park’s Cross Country Trail for a 5K run in the name of fitness and healthy living.
The race was named the Tie-Dye Invitational because of the colorful T-shirts worn by the 28 students who completed the teen fitness program Lighten Up.
Donna Loden of HealthWorks!, the Tupelo health museum, was one of the event coordinators for the run. She said the turnout, in spite of dark rain clouds and a muddy trail, showed that the community considered the cause a good one.
“This is all to promote a healthy lifestyle for our children,” said Loden. “We decided to have this event as a way to get kids who typically aren’t runners off the couch and away from the iPods and video games outside and doing something. The Lighten Up program is a great program for the kids that’s helped to make exercising fun for them.”
Lighten Up is a 10-week class for children between the ages of 9 and 16 who have never been runners before and would like to try it, according to Loden.
The program started March 2 with 28 participants. The Lee County Medical Alliance partnered up with HealthWorks! to make the event possible.
Atlantis Hayes, 14, was one of the 28. Even though she wasn’t a runner when the program started in March, Hayes said she’s enjoyed hitting the track.
“I feel healthier now then when I started,” said the Tupelo Middle School student. “The program taught us to push ourselves to new limits and not give up.”
Loden said the participants of Lighten Up made a promise to complete the 3.1-mile run, and all of them made good on it.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678.1583 or

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

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