Suffolk gets moving

Published 9:45 pm Saturday, June 11, 2011

On the move: Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community executive director Jaya Tiwari, right, and Katie Humphrey congratulate 7-year-old Lauren Stewart as she crosses the finish line at Suffolk on the Move on Saturday. The event featured a 5K walk or run and one-mile event.

Nearly 500 area residents got moving Saturday morning at Constant’s Wharf.

The annual Suffolk on the Move 5K and one-mile walk aimed to get people exercising in a fun environment, said Jaya Tiwari, executive director of Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community.

“We just wanted to get people in a fun, family event and get exercising,” she said. “It’s not about speed or timing or competition. It’s just about fitness at any age.”

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Saturday’s event truly was for all ages. Some of the participants were babies in strollers, while former mayor Andy Damiani, who will turn 90 this year, participated in the one-mile walk.

“It’s a good thing to be healthy,” Damiani said.

Tiwari and other volunteers stood at the finish line with cowbells and noisemakers, raising just as much of a cacophony for the last finisher as they did for the first.

“The idea is just to get people out and moving,” Tiwari said.

This is the second year for the event, which was free to registrants. The Suffolk on the Move program is a project of Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community, and was produced in partnership with Suffolk Parks and Recreation.

Tiwari said many similar events are prohibitive for people because of cost and the perception that you should already be in great shape before participating.

“A lot of the time, these types of things are so competitive,” Tiwari said. “You see the fittest of the fit.”

With the Suffolk on the Move event, however, “You’re not intimidated by having to cross in a certain time,” she said. “This is truly just promoting health.”

Stacia and John Lupyan participated in the event with their two daughters, Jordan and Meghan.

“I’ve done 5Ks before, but we’ve never done it as a family,” Lupyan said. “I think it’s a great idea.”

Lupyan, a teacher in a neighboring school district, said she can see on a daily basis that more physical activity is needed.

“I see a lot of kids that are not physically fit at all,” she said.

Participant Deluvia Payne signed up herself and her 11-year-old daughter, Dilena, for the event.

“It was just for the fun of it,” she said. It was hard to get her daughter up in time for the 8 a.m. start, but then “she even beat me,” Payne said.

At the end of the course, participants were treated to sub sandwiches, bananas, energy bars, trail mix and water courtesy of sponsors Planters and Subway.