Run for All: GO! St. Louis
On your mark, get set, get fit! That’s the message of GO! St. Louis, a Clayton nonprofit that gets residents into running shoes and on the road to a healthful lifestyle. The organization is putting finishing touches on its annual GO! St. Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend, held April 8 and 9 in Forest Park and downtown St. Louis. It features races for all skill levels, including a marathon, half marathon, relay and more. The idea is to get people moving and support community wellness, says Mona Langenberg, president of the nonprofit.
Family Fitness Weekend isn’t just for those who run and train regularly. Many people are intimidated by the idea of a race, Langenberg says, but different participation levels make this event very accessible. You can run various distances, walk, or take part in children’s or senior events. “There isn’t just one type of runner; it’s really for everyone,” Langenberg notes. “That’s the whole point: for people to get out there and enjoy it together.” She says it takes about 2,500 volunteers to pull off this event, GO! St. Louis’ largest, which draws 20,000 runners from Missouri, Illinois and other states.
Business teams and individual runners alike really get into the spirit of it. Half marathon title sponsor PNC Bank holds pre-race training events at some of its branches, Langenberg says. And for the first time, the bank has selected two of its staffers, novice racers Kolleen Walsh and David Brody, to chronicle their training journey via blogs and social media. Their experience is meant to encourage other first-timers to sign up. PNC also pays the registration fees for all its employees who enter. “Many are willing to take it on because of that, and the fact that they want to challenge each other and do something healthy,” Langenberg says.
“We have sponsored GO! St. Louis’ event for more than 10 years because the organization helps improve the well-being of the local community,” says Michael Scully, regional president and head of banking at PNC. “When one of our executives ran the half marathon in 2014, he saw the benefits of supporting an organization like this. That race was the catalyst for a company-wide focus on fitness events.”
To make the 2017 race weekend extra special, GO! St. Louis has been working closely with the CityArchRiver Foundation, which is spearheading the $250 million revitalization of the Gateway Arch grounds. “For a cool twist this year, the start and finish lines of the downtown distance races will be on Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard under the Arch,” Langenberg says. “It will showcase the great work CityArchRiver has done, and give runners a memorable finish to the events.”
Pictured: GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fun Weekend
Photo courtesy of GO! St. Louis
GO! St. Louis is a year-round resource for people on the path to fitness and better health. Interested runners, walkers and volunteers can sign up for Family Fitness Weekend on April 8 and 9, and other race events, at gostlouis.org. Follow the trail of first-time racers Kolleen Walsh and David Brody via Twitter at #runwithpnc.
Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography