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For runners, there is a free lunch, and a YMCA membership

POSTED: January 20, 2008 5:04 a.m.

To get people to participate in its March 20 "Get Fit Stay Fit" 5K run/walk, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is making an offer that’s hard to refuse.

Anyone who stops by the Georgia Mountains YMCA on Thursday for a free lunch and signs up for the 5K will get a free eight-week membership to the YMCA.

"This gives people time to train and get ready," said Robyn Lynch, vice president of membership development for the chamber.

The registration session is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the J.A. Walters Family YMCA branch, at 2455 Howard Road off Ga. 365. People can register as team leaders or as individuals, for $15 a person.

The 5K run/walk, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 20 at Riverside Military Academy’s cross-country course, is the second phase of the chamber’s effort to promote community wellness. The first event was the HealthSmart wellness expo, which was held Oct. 24 at the Georgia Mountains Center.

"We really want people to get up off the couch," Lynch said. "We hope this will encourage companies to start wellness programs, especially with the free gym memberships."

The YMCA memberships will start Jan. 24 and end March 19, the day before the race. People who register on Thursday will get information on YMCA membership as well as advice on how to train for a 5K.

"You do not have to run," Lynch said. "About 80 percent of the people who’ve signed up so far are walkers."

However, trophies will be given to the fastest team and to the fastest CEO, she said. There will also be awards for the most team spirit and the largest team.

Each team must comprise at least five people, Lynch said.

"About 40 teams have signed up so far, and we’re hoping for at least 250," she said. "Most of the teams are from companies, but we’ve also got some civic organizations and sports clubs."

Even families or groups of friends can form a team, though any children on the team should be at least middle-school age.

"And you can all go to the Y and train together, which helps keep up your motivation," Lynch said.



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