There were many reasons to celebrate at Saturday's Youth Challenge Race Days.
The event is a major fundraiser for Westlake-based Youth Challenge, which helps disabled young people get into sports and recreation. The organization is hoping to raise about $10,000 from this year's race.
Runners loved the cloudy and not-too-hot-yet weather. The race was held at Hyland Software.
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Joshua Strzala of Parma was wrapping up a terrific week. He ran his first 100-mile race, the Burning River 100, last weekend. Friday, he got engaged to Melissa Forinash of Cleveland. And then he won the Youth Challenge 5K in a time of 17 minutes, 1 second.
"I'd never run this before," he said. "It's a great course, nice and flat. I was surprised when I was able to pull away. I didn't know how I'd do after doing 100 miles last week."
Michelle Clem of Cleveland was the top women's finisher in 20:24.
Andrew Vogt, a Youth Challenge member, competed in the 5K in his wheelchair. He finished in 42 minutes.
"I'm here as an advocate for the kids," the 25-year-old Vogt said. "If I can do this, they can do this. I want them to see that."
After the 5K was completed, about 25 Youth Challenge members and 25 volunteers walked the 1-mile run/walk.
"This is about challenging themselves," said Chris Garr, director of program services for Youth Challenge. "Whether they're driving their power chair, or getting pushed, or walking in their walker, they're overcoming a challenge. That's something for them to celebrate."