Up for the Challenge, Weather or Not

Photo by Brian Solem
Fitness challengers top finishers at the BBT run/walk in St. Louis were (from left): Chelsea Goss, first place female runner; Nate Hosler, first place male runner; Don Shankster, first place male walker; and Susan Fox, first place female walker. Photo courtesy of Brethren Benefit Trust

The St. Louis pavement was steamy Sunday morning, July 8, as runners and walkers gathered at Forest Park for the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) Fitness Challenge. Despite the humidity, 81 athletically-minded Brethren turned out at 7 a.m. to participate in this popular Annual Conference event.

For the first time in Fitness Challenge history the course was a bit longer than the traditional 5K, stretching 3.5 miles. It wound through woods, around a lovely golf course, and curved beside the St. Louis Art Museum. Many pairs of sneakers sped down the path, crunching along the limestone waterfront of the Emerson Grand Basin and its surrounding lagoons. Although there were some challenging hills, the scenic tour of this part of the city was certainly easy on the eyes.

Susan Fox was the first place female walker, finishing the race with a time of 42:53. For the second year in a row, Chelsea Goss took first place of the female runners with a time of 26:40. Nathan Hosler and Don Shankster are still reigning champions three years running, with Shankster walking the course in 38:27, and Hosler running it in an impressive 20:54.

Despite a temperature in the low 80s, “people showed up very excited to run or walk the race,” said Donna March, BBT’s director of Office Operations and coordinator of the event. This energetic group braved the weather to take advantage of a great opportunity to exercise, see a different part of St. Louis, and be together in very active community.

— Mandy Garcia is staff for donor communications for the Church of the Brethren

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