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People ran, walked and rolled for the eighth annual “We Can Run, Walk & Roll” 5K and 1 Mile event held over the weekend at Pawnee Park.

Event organizer Doug Janssen said the race was created in the spirit of the world-famous Team Hoyt, a father-son race duo. Rick Hoyt is wheelchair bound, so his father Dick Hoyt has been pushing his chair in various races like the Boston Marathon since 1977.

“(The race) just helps promote the idea of changing people’s perceptions about disability and celebrate everyone's abilities,” Janssen said.

Two hundred and twenty people participated in the Columbus Community Hospital organized race this year despite the cold.

“Thankfully, Saturday's weather was better than Sunday’s,” Janssen said. “It was cold, but we had sunshine and no rain.”

Event organizer Therese Chase also commented on the cold weather at the race.

“It was a little chilly, but I’m glad it wasn’t raining,” she said. “I think everyone out there is just excited to be there, regardless of the weather. They know it’s for a good cause and it’s really an inspiring event.”

All proceeds raised from the campaign this year went toward purchasing AmTryke tricycles to be given out to members of the community for free. Janssen said the adapted tricycles are more stable than a standard three-wheeled tricycle and can be customized to fit the individual's needs.

This year, they were able to purchase $7,000 worth of AmTryke tricycles from Bikes and Trykes of Central Nebraska. Each of the six to eight tricycles given out each year costs between $700 to $1,200 depending on the devices' individual modifications. Chase, who helps to organizes the AmTryke giveaway, said they have given out more than 40 bikes since the race's inception.

“One of the kids who received one this year, his mom was filming, kind of tears in her eyes,” Chase said. “I get to have one of the best parts of helping with the race because I am responsible for that part. So I feel like I’m lucky to have that.”

For the first time at the race this year, the American Youth Soccer Organization VIP soccer league players conducted an exhibition all-inclusive match while people were waiting for the race winners to be announced.

“We added that to spread awareness about a different opportunity for kids with disabilities to play soccer here in Columbus,” Janssen said.

The event also had a drawing for free items like a FitBit health tracker. Everyone who participated in the run got a t-shirt and lunch. Awards were given out to top finishers in several different categories.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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