This year marked the 23rd annual Shanty Days 5K and a great example of a community coming together to host a healthy event in Algoma. The 5K dates back to early Shanty Days history when an active community member and former Algoma Cross Country coach, Jerry Matuszek, created the course and rallied friends and community members to help put on run/walk. The original course began and ended at the Algoma Long Term Care Center and included both competitive running and walking divisions. The word spread, and soon this event was included in the Dick Lytie series of races, increasing its popularity. The 5K became one of the highlights of the Shanty Days weekend and continues to draw in more participants from near and far.
Jerry Matuszek has taken on more of a supportive role for the race, and the torch has been passed on to new directors in 2011. Dr. Rob Anderson and Jody Anderson took the lead and moved forward with a few changes toward improving this event. Chip timing was added to make the race times accurate, and online registration was added in 2011. Next, the route was changed to highlight local Algoma attractions-especially the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline along Crescent Beach. The route change was well-received by race participants and registration numbers continued to grow. Additionally, the half-mile kid’s race was enhanced by adding Super heroes! The Kids Super Hero Fun Run is a race for boys and girls ages 9 and under. The route circles around the Shanty Days grounds and the kids get to run with Super hero characters such as Spiderman, Superman, Ironman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and the Ninja Turtles! Over 50 children participated in this year’s race which is the highest participation rate so far.
The Algoma Shanty Days 5K event has always been in support of the Algoma Chamber of Commerce. In 2015 the Anderson’s proposed to have a portion of the race’s proceeds go toward local community causes. In 2015 race registration proceeds went toward the purchase of a wheeled racing stroller to be used by community members in training and participating in My Team Triumph events. This racing stroller is free for community members to use and can be checked out at the Algoma Community Wellness Center. In 2016, a portion of race registration proceeds will be donated directly to the Kewaunee County Food Pantry in the amount of $2,380. Racing for a cause has boosted excitement and participation in support of community needs, and registration numbers have grown to over 600.
In 2014, the Shanty Days 5K was asked to join in the Titletown Wellness Series, which is a series of local running events starting with the Bellin Run in June and ending with the Festival Foods Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. Race series participants compete for points by participation and rank at the finish of each event.
As a Community Bright Spot, the Algoma Shanty Days 5K supports multiple dimensions of well-being. Not only is this a healthy event that gets your hearts pumping, but it is also a community activating event that shows the true heart of Algoma, it’s generous and supportive community members. Each year many volunteers including local fire and safety officers, local business sponsors, and dedicated individuals donate their time and energy into making this event enjoyable and memorable for all. Whether you walk, run, or volunteer for the race, you can feel good about it. The Shanty Days 5K is a healthy event that unites family, friends and an entire community. The race directors would like to thank all of the volunteers, the sponsors, and Jamie Salzeider for assisting with volunteer coordination. Mark your calendars for next year’s race on August 12, 2017! For updates, please “Like” the Shanty Days 5K Facebook Page or visit http://algomachamber.org/