Ready, set, Peanut Fest!

Published 10:54 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

Hundreds wore their favorite running and walking shoes on Saturday and met at Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina, just as the sun rose over this year’s 5K and One-Mile Fun Walk.

There were 241 runners and walkers registered to help kick off Suffolk’s Peanut Fest on Saturday, according to Healthy Suffolk program manager Deborah Nadell. The family-friendly race helps to promote active living and fight childhood obesity. It also fits nicely with the other peanut festivities, Nadell said.

“It’s the idea of promoting wellness as a year-round thing and ties that to one of the biggest events in Suffolk,” Nadell said.


Email newsletter signup

Children, parents and several enthusiastic dogs set off from Constant’s Wharf down West Constance Road, then turned onto Prentis Street before heading back to the park via the Seaboard Coastline Trail. The 5K participants had the added bonus of looping through the historic and scenic Cedar Hill Cemetery.

That cemetery detour was a highlight for Leigha Winters, 5, who ran with her mother, Jessica Winters, while her sister Sammie, 3, rode in a stroller. The trio was the first group of one-milers to cross the finish line while the Rev. Matt Winters, the pastor of Bethlehem Christian Church of Suffolk and Jessica’s husband, sweated through the 5K route.

“It felt like the first day of fall,” Jessica Winters said after she and her girls got their finisher medals. “We had a lot of fun.”

Chadd Wright placed first in the 5K, followed by Elkana Wafula in second and Andrew Fowler in third. Wright said he’s an avid runner who typically does marathon-level distances. But that doesn’t mean 5Ks are easy for him.

“I usually do the longer races, so the 5K hurts,” he said and laughed. “In longer races, you usually go slow and steady, but this was an all-out sprint.”

Numerous teams enjoyed water and bananas when they finished their workouts and played some “minute-to-win-it” games for the chance to win prizes.

Gail Jordan and more than 45 others were clad in dark blue shirts that read “#TeamEstherByrdForever.” Jordan’s mother, Esther Byrd, passed away more than a decade ago and the family holds an annual reunion for her birthday, coming from as far away as California, Texas and Rhode Island, she said.

“I’ve got three sisters that live here (in Suffolk), and one of them invited me to do the 5K,” Jordan said. “We thought, ‘Why not ask the whole family to come?’”

Local Healthy Suffolk supporters like Girls on the Run and Wanchese Fish Company also had teams of runners and walkers stroll through the inflatable arch on Saturday. Nadell said that operations ran smoothly — from registration to handing out prizes — and that Saturday was one of the biggest turnouts for the event yet.

Most importantly, the idea of leading a healthy lifestyle once again became part of the Peanut Fest conversation.

“It’s to bring people together to celebrate health and wellness, and it also helps align Suffolk with wellness,” Nadell said. “It’s another component of who we are as a community.”