Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

October 7, 2013

Family relay event returns for sixth year

Devan Strebing
Hendricks County Flyer

— DANVILLE — The Gilbert Relays were held in Danville this past Wednesday with the help of volunteers and community support from local businesses.

The sixth annual relay event was created by Lou and Jana Gilbert when their daughter ran with the Danville Middle School cross country team. The team came to the Gilbert’s home to practice on the land they owned, a quarter of a mile from the middle school.

The family held it at their home for the first four years, and after they moved, West Bridge Church said they could continue the event at their disc golf course. The course is one-third of a mile.

“We’ve been doing this on the first Wednesday in October every year, right before the cross country season ends,” said Lou Gilbert. “This is exciting for the kids.”

The DMS cross country team consists of 40 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who split up into teams of three for the relay race. Each member runs four laps, alternating each time until they reach four miles total.

Each team was announced before the race, followed by cheers from the DMS cheerleaders, the high school cross country team, and two Colts cheerleaders.

“You usually don’t see cheerleaders cheering on runners,” Jana Gilbert said. “We also have a celebrity runner every year, and this year two Colts cheerleaders were nice enough to come out and cheer the kids on as well.”

After the race, both cross country teams got free T-shirts, a free “pasta in a cup” dinner from Mabel on the Move, and dessert from Dairy Queen.

The first-place team — Bobby Smith, Megan McAdams and Kelly Ross — each won prizes donated by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, certificates from the Roayl Theater and the Hot Diggity Dog restaurant in Danville, a free haircut, and a free one-month membership to the recreation center in Danville.

“We have done a lot of fundraising, have done a lot of things to mix it up for the kids,” Lou Gilbert said. “The family pays for what the sponsors can’t cover, but the community support has been great.”

Volunteers included people from the West Bridge Church and friends and family of the Gilberts’.

“This really has evolved into a standing thing, we will keep doing this,” Lou Gilbert said. “It’s become a success. We are glad we’re able to continue to do it.”

Jana Gilbert agrees, saying, “Our main goal is to promote running, teamwork, community support and integrity. This event teaches the kids discipline and hard work, and we really enjoy putting it on.”