Packers training camp kicked off several hours before the first practice under brilliant sun with the second-annual Packers 5K Run at Lambeau Field, presented by Bellin Health. It was an opportunity for those who are also committed to strength and fitness to show their skills, just as the players were to do later in the day.
Nearly 5,000 participants started the race in front of the Lambeau Field Atrium at approximately 10 a.m., wound their way through neighboring streets before entering the historic stadium and circling the field, then completing the race on artificial turf in the parking lot.
"We have 2,000 more participants than last year, and I want to particularly thank Bellin Health for helping us put on this event," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy when addressing the crowd before the run. "We felt like starting on Lombardi Ave. this year was appropriate. It's been a whirlwind this year and we're glad to be back to football. Training camp starts tonight and last year was a remarkable run to the Super Bowl."
Bellin Health was a major contributor in making the event possible, just as in 2010. Portions of the proceeds will be donated to area non-profit organizations American Red Cross, Multiple Sclerosis, Thrive to be the Best You, American Red Cross and Unity Hospice.
The 5K Run at Lambeau Field attracts serious runners, as well as families and large groups. Brandon Dworak from Denwark, Wis., placed first among the men with a time of 15:28. The top finisher among the women was Ashlyn Mauer of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., who completed the course in a blistering 18:34.
Patty Nett, a Packers shareholder since 1996 who came in from Wautoma, Wis., for the Thursday's shareholder's meeting participated again this year and will attend the first night of training camp. She walked casually in the race with her husband Jeff, daughter Kaitlin and friend Jane Hess.
"I try to beat the people with strollers or not trip over them," said Hess.
Jamie Hock from Oneida, Wis., has been running 5K races for the last three years alongside her nine-year-old son, T.J. Her seven-year-old daughter Dayton walks with Jamie's parents, Tom and Linda Secor. Sister-in-law Becky also makes the trip from Kenosha, Wis., with her two daughters, Halee and Natalee, to participate.
"This event is good for the community; people come from all over the state and it's a great way to kick off training camp for the Packers," said Hock. "It's a fun way to start the season."
The 5K is another notable running event on the calendar for Bellin Health. Each June, the Bellin Run is held in Green Bay, among the nation's largest 10K runs. This year, a record 18,701 people participated, including runners, walkers, children, wheelchair and hand-cycle racers.
The run was originally scheduled to encourage cardiovascular fitness but now contributes toward a Bellin College Scholarship Fund.
Click Here to view the Packers 5k Photo Gallery.