Morning fun run for Peanut Fest

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019

More than 100 people looking for a healthy start to their Saturday morning were ready to run and walk downtown just after sunrise, and before the 2019 Suffolk Peanut Fest Parade livened up downtown.

The Healthy Suffolk Peanut Fest 5K Run/Walk and One Mile Fun Walk was held Saturday morning at Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina. Daniel Harrell, communications and outreach manager for Healthy Suffolk, counted approximately 130 participants at this year’s event.

The runners and walkers warmed up their arms, legs and core with an exercise routine that was led by Katie Burgus, district vice president for YMCA of South Hampton Roads, and Membership Director Kelly Henson.

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There was an early-morning chill by the Nansemond River on Saturday, but Burgus knew how to get people ready for the starting line.

“You just gotta have fun with it,” Burgus said. “Lots of energy, lots of excitement and enthusiasm.”

Among the other sponsors at this year’s Peanut Fest 5K was the Girls on the Run organization. There was also a Sentara Health Fair, with information on Sentara’s myriad services, including Sentara Medical Group’s cardiology practice and family medicine.

“It’s really to be able to provide information on services to the people here, and to share some of our resources in the community,” said Meredith Moorefield, director of ambulatory services at Sentara Obici campuses. “A lot of our services here are about keeping people healthy and moving, so it really ties in with the event.”

The event was a more relaxed run meant for the whole range of people that want to be more active this season, and the event was both pet- and stroller-friendly.

Trophies were awarded for the first through third place finishers for 5K male runners and first through third place finishers for 5K female runners. There were also trophies for the pet and youth categories, and every participant received a finisher medal.

Elkana Wafula won first place for 5K male runners, Kevin Kirsner took second, and Zach Gist third. First place for 5K women was Meghan Steiner, second was Ruth Wafula and third was Janelle Green.

The youth winner was Jaden Green, and the top dog was Misty, a Suffolk Humane Society rescue pup.

Every runner and walker crossed the finish line at Constant’s Wharf to cheers and applause. That included 2-year-old Elizabeth Shamblin and her mother, Sabrina Shamblin. Elizabeth wore her best pink Adidas track suit and toddler Pumas.

“She loved it,” Shamblin said about her daughter after the race. “She always talks about running. We try to do at least two 5Ks a year.”

Elizabeth hit four total finisher medals on Saturday morning, Shamblin said.

“She just likes to win a medal,” Shamblin said and laughed.

It was the third Peanut Fest 5K for Meghan, the 13-year-old top finisher for female 5K runners.

“I liked it,” she said after the race. “I liked the part where we were running through the trees and the sun wasn’t right in my face.”

The Peanut Fest 5K was a family affair for the Wafulas. Siblings Elkana, Ruth and Dorcus Wafula were all at the early-morning event on Saturday, and Elkana and Ruth both finished in the top three of their respective categories.

“It was nice,” Elkana Wafula said. “We usually run together and train together, so running together (this morning) was nice. It was good.”

The event was an opportunity for families — men, women, children and even dogs — to get out and start their fall season on the right foot, or paw.

“Overall, the biggest reason that we do it is to try to get people (healthier) and more active,” Harrell said. “This time of year is a great time to get some steps in, get outside and enjoy the weather. It’s just general fitness and wellness.”

Peanut Fest will be held this Thursday through Sunday at the Suffolk Executive Airport. Visit for more information.