The Second Annual Madison Gospel 5K “Socially Distanced” Run/Walk was a huge success. Held July 18 at Penn Park, the event focused on providing a safe, fun, competitive racing experience for the participants all while following social distancing and safety guidelines amid this novel pandemic.

Uchenna Jones, the event founder, said as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times, personal health should be a priority, adding “we must renew, retrain and reclaim our health.” As a wife, mother and labor and delivery nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital, Jones used her out-of-the-box thinking to finds ways to include virtual 5K runners. In all, there were just under 200 participants.

The weather was perfect, for those who couldn’t resist pounding the pavement for their personal best race.

“I do this because I care,” Jones said. “I desire to see people happy, healthy and whole. We owe it to ourselves to live our best life. There are times in life we need a helping hand. I would like to be seen as that helping hand. I have many wonderful people in my life who cared enough about my well-being. I desire to be that for someone else. There is nothing sweeter than seeing someone achieve their personal goal.”

The mission of the Madison Gospel 5K Run/Walk is to unite the Madison community in exercising faith and fellowship, while building a healthier city through the promotion of healthy lifestyles in all its aspects. Jones said this year’s proceeds will go towards creating programs aimed at improving the health of Madison residents, particularly people of color with historical barriers to healthcare access and providing financial relief to families who are experiencing hardship at this time.

“Overall, it was great,” said Jones, who also thanked her volunteers. “I’m looking forward to what 2021 will bring!”