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Runners in red support Cupid’s Chase 5K Saturday

Anne Grey, 11 months, welcomed runners to the Cupid’s Chase 5K on Saturday. Her grandfather, Lee Oviatt, served as a volunteer at the race, which is a fundraiser for Community Options. Submitted photo

FRANKLIN TWP — Karen Hull, 55, of Concord Township, had the winning attitude on Saturday morning as she donned her red T-shirt and prepared to participate in the seventh annual Cupid’s Chase 5K at Lake Arthur Golf Club.

“My goal is to finish,” said Hull, who participated in her first race ever on Saturday. “I don’t care if I’m in last place, I finished.”

About 100 runners, walkers, fitness seekers, teen track team members and others came out on Saturday morning for Cupid’s Chase, said Tim Hawk, executive director of Community Options and race director.

The race, one of 46 Cupid’s Chase races in 11 states held Saturday, is a fundraiser for Community Options, a national nonprofit that supports local housing and employment for adults with autism or intellectual disabilities.

Hawk said last year the local Cupid’s Chase race raised $18,000, which was used to renovate a basement into a separate living space for a client at one of the 12 homes in Butler County owned by Community Options.

Those who came to run or walk Saturday received a free T-shirt; grazed on coffee, juice, bagels, muffins and pastries; dropped tickets to win one of 25 gift baskets donated by local businesses; tried their luck in a 50/50 drawing; listened to music played by a DJ; and got their pictures taken at the Community Options backdrop before lining up in anticipation of the crack of the starting pistol.

Two members of the Butler Junior High Cross Country and Track teams and their coach ran the race to keep their skills up in anticipation of the upcoming season.

“It’s a good way to exercise and it’s really fun trying to beat your goals,” Jacob Szul, 14, of Center Township, said of his affinity for participating in 5Ks. “The course looks kind of hilly, but I like hills, so it’s fine.”

Zari Golojuh, 13, of Oakland Township, enjoyed the friendly and fun atmosphere in the Lake Arthur clubhouse before the race.

She also like to participate in running events when cross country or track season are over.

“It motivates me and makes me feel accomplished,” Zari said.

Elliette Smith, 17, of Center Township, is a member of the Butler Varsity Cross Country team. She came to Cupid’s Chase with her mom, Carrie, who is the junior high team’s coach.

“I came to have some fun and see some friends,” Elliette said.

She also enjoys running anytime she can.

“It’s a great way to clear your mind and keep you in shape,” Elliette said.

Her mother was proud of all three student runners who came to Cupid’s Chase.

“They are such hard workers,” Smith said. “They set goals and they crush them.”

Ashley Teuteberg, of Butler Township, went on a mission to improve her health after being diagnosed with diabetes in 2020.

She lost 80 pounds through running and working out at Butler Burn Boot Camp.

“I’m trying to do as many races as I can this year,” Teuteberg said.

Her friend, Edie Sawyer, of Franklin Township, was a runner before being sidelined with hip dysplasia. After having her hip surgically replaced, she was determined to remain active.

“I wish it was sunny, but at least it’s not snowing,” Sawyer said of the low ceiling of gray clouds and 51-degree temperature at the start of the race.

Three employees of Armstrong Comfort Solutions participated in the race on their day off.

“We decided as a company we want to be more plugged into the community, so we have a few employees here,” said Eli Nickerson, of Butler Township, who is an Armstrong Comfort Solutions field supervisor.

Nickerson, who was clearly pumped up to run, ran in high school and recently completed a Turkey Trot in Buffalo, N.Y.

“This was the first race I could find around here,” he said.

His co-worker, Stephanie Rouda, of Butler Township, has done other 5Ks, but wasn’t sure she would be able to run the entire way and planned to speed walk when necessary.

“I like community events and thought this would be fun,” Rouda said.

Hawk said trophies would be conferred on the top three overall runners in the men’s and women’s categories, and a single trophy would go to the winners in each age group.

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