A brand new fundraiser held Sunday for Wellington Dukes track and field stars invited visitors to show off their cardio and weightlifting skills.
The Pump and Run 5K was conceived and put on by first-year coach Matt Kimmich, complete with a formal bench press contest followed by a brisk run amid temperatures that had dropped below freezing.
His team and roughly 50 community members gathered for the event at the Dickson Street stadium.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of athletics here in Wellington,” Kimmich said. “I wanted to come back and work with the kids because, in my opinion, it’s important for them to remember where they came from — to have that sense of tradition and sense of belonging.”
“The idea behind the Pump and Run is not just as a fundraiser but also to give the community something to hang their hat on,” he said. “Ten to 20 years from now, it would be great to hear on St. Patty’s Day weekend, ‘I’m going to Wellington for the run.’”
Junior runner Nick Martinelli finished first in the 5K with a time of 19:36, beating community member Matt Polo by a single second.
Track team members Jon Brasee, Parker Adler, and Emily Watters rounded out the top five.
The bench press competition was divided between men and women as well as age groups, with participants tasked with lifting between 45 and 100 percent of their body weight.
Kimmich said he and many others are looking forward to having a new six-lane running track installed on Dickson Street.
That work is scheduled to be completed by May and will allow Wellington to host track meets for the first time in years.
“We didn’t have any home meets for a nice track when I was in high school either,” said Kimmich, who graduated from WHS in 2001.
“For us to see so many updates here in the past couple of years, it’s great. By the end of next season we’ll have a brand new track, new lights, new stands, a new press box. It gives all of our sports teams something to feel good about.”