As spring sports ramp up for high school students and the goal of beating school records grows, Live Healthy Iowa reminds Iowans that records can be set by anyone searching for a healthier lifestyle.

On Saturday, April 13, the non-profit Iowa Sports Foundation held over a dozen 5k run/walk events throughout the state, including one in Perry.

Over 50 residents registered for the event on Saturday with everyone having a different goal in mind at 8 a.m. at the Dallas County Hospital parking lot to start the event. But the through-line remained focused on self-improvement.

Crossing the finish line first was Osvaldo Rodriguez, who has been running in the event and other similar events for the past few years. He said it’s not something he considers competitive, he just finds it fun to run and push himself to keep in shape.

His time of 21:28, however, comes with an asterisk as he admitted that he took a wrong turn, getting lost on the course route and missing a short turn.

That put Glennda Newman officially in first place with a time of 23:42, an improvement on her time from the previous year’s event. But unlike Rodriguez, she said she doesn’t find it enjoyable. It’s a matter of perseverance and dedication to the program’s goals.

“Nope, it’s painful. It hurts,” Newman laughed about her new hobby. “It is setting that goal and saying, ‘I’m going to meet it.’ And then my goal for this race was to get faster than last year, and I did it.”

She added that she used Rodriguez as her pace for the majority of the race, and had he made the correct turn, he would have officially finished first. But like many in the event, competition is not the driving force, it’s to live the better, fitter lifestyle Live Healthy advocates.

According to reports from “The State of Obesity,” Iowa’s obesity rate was 36.4 percent in 2017 — fourth-highest in the nation. One of the goals of Live Healthy is to help drop that rate, and since 2002, has helped over 300 thousand participants lose over a million pounds en route to help Iowa become a healthier state.

Newman and Rodriguez are proof that a healthy lifestyle is attainable. Some people find it an enjoyable climb, others see a towering mountain, but each year with a goal in mind, they find themselves chasing a new peak, improving each step of the way.