When the 2012 Spa 5k/10k begins on Saturday morning, Mercy Hospital Hot Springs will be well represented.
More than 20 percent of the field is expected to be made up of Mercy Hot Springs co-workers, who are participating as part of the Healthification initiative.
“As health care workers, we should be setting the example for how to live a healthier lifestyle and this run/walk is a great community event that benefits all involved,” said Mercy Hot Springs President Tim Johnsen. “I am so proud of our Mercy team who are getting ready for the race every day. I encourage everyone to come out and cheer all the runners and walkers along.”
The 31st Spa 5k/10k begins at 8 a.m. Saturday in downtown Hot Springs. The route takes participants up West Mountain and through the Quapaw-Prospect Historic District.
Last year, the event drew 1,036 registered participants to the streets of Hot Springs. Mercy Hot Springs had 201 signed up last year and 220 scheduled to participate on Saturday.
“Mercy is in a big way the reason why our race is successful. We are such a benefactor of Mercy’s generosity, not only the financial commitment, but with 220 Mercy employees participating in our race,” said Dave MacKenzie, president of the Spa Pacers who organize the event each year. “That is 20 percent of our entire field.”
Mercy started with 123 participants in 2010. That number has continued to grow each year.
“This has been a great team building event for our co-workers. There have been many friends made and lives changed through this,” said Mike Long, Mercy Hot Springs Healthification coordinator. “There are many Mercy participants who would barely complete the 3.1 miles walking that are signing up to run the 3.1 and many that did the 5k that have moved up to the 10k.”
And that is the goal for the event.
“Our creed is to promote health and fitness in the community through running or walking. Mercy has bought into our creed and promoted it in their workplace and because of that they have an unbelievable number of participants in our race,” Dave MacKenzie said. “Without Mercy our race wouldn’t be nearly the size or the success that it is today.”