Annual run to benefit United Way set for Halloween eve

Annual run to benefit United Way set for Halloween eve

The Wooster High boys cross country team is gearing up for the Heart & Ghoul 1-mile Spooky Sprint, 5k, 10k and half marathon, set to kick off the morning of Halloween eve, Saturday, Oct. 30. The event benefits United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties.


It will be a scary good time at this year’s United Way of Wayne and Holmes’ Heart & Ghoul Spooky Sprint, 5k, 10k and half marathon, set to kick off the morning of Halloween eve, Saturday, Oct. 30. Registration is now open for the United Way’s largest fundraiser, formerly known in the community as the Heart & Sole race, but according to race director Carrolyn Salazar, because of COVID-19 and a rearrangement in schedule, the race has now changed its name to Heart & Ghoul to go along with its theme and the season.

“This race was previously the Heart & Sole race, and it continues to be a staple run in the community,” said Salazar, who also is manager of public relations for United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties. “It used to happen in August, but due to COVID, our permit pushed the race back to a themed Halloween run, which is going to be so much fun.”

To add to the season, a 1-mile Spooky Sprint was added this year for anyone — but geared toward the kiddos — and will include a little bit more than just a run.

“This year we added a kids race (untimed) that will have trick-or-treat stops along the way. There will be characters along the way for them to see and a DJ playing the greatest Halloween hits,” Salazar said “As I said, this is the only race in downtown Wooster. That in itself is a big draw, to run along the beautiful streets of Wooster with fans along the way. We also have fluid stations on the course and a professional team of pacers, bikers and a Hamm radio team to ensure everything goes as planned. Come to the race and stay a while, eat at one of the local restaurants, stop in to shop and see all Wooster has to offer.”

For more than 20 years, the United Way has been the recipient of the funds raised through registration for the race, which is now underway.

“When you register, you are helping local people,” Salazar said, “helping people who need addiction treatment, helping people who are hungry, helping people who need a counselor or helping a child with a daycare scholarship. Your registration helps real people locally.”

While the race was delayed due to the pandemic, race organizers also were required to come up with a COVID-19 safety plan before being issued a permit to allow this year’s Heart & Ghoul event to be held.

“We will have sanitizer available and will have done many things differently to ensure social distancing and safety for all who attend,” Salazar said. “This is an outdoor event in downtown, where you have the ability to mask if you wish and social distance.”

Salazar and her team of local race planners aren’t working alone to bring downtown Wooster a successful event for United Way; they also are in communication throughout the planning process with Mid Ohio Race Management from the time planning begins for each year’s race, which basically starts as soon as the race ends the year before, Salazar said.

“We work with Mid Ohio Race Management to assure we are up with all of the racing trends and to also think of what people are looking for in a race — from the T-shirt to the medal design. We want to put on the best race possible and give people value in the registration prices they pay. We also work with the Wooster Police Department on the closing of streets, the patrolling of neighborhoods to make sure our racers are safe and they have all resources they need to have a good race.”

Participants and those who come only to spectate are encouraged to wear costumes and dance along to music provided by DJ Bobby, Salazar said.

“This is going to be a fun, family-friendly event that you won’t want to miss,” she said. “You can walk or run this race. Many people walk it and enjoy the beauty of the fall in Wooster. Or register for the 1-mile walk and enjoy the fun as kids run along from one treat stop to the next.”

The race will start outside of the downtown Wayne Savings Community Bank branch, 151 N. Market St., after race nutrition is provided. The half marathon will start at 8 a.m., the 10k at 8:15 a.m., the 5k at 8:30 a.m. and the Spooky Sprint at 8:45 a.m. Early registration is open at a reduced rate through Oct. 22 through the event’s Facebook page (search Heart and Sole Community Walk/Run) or by visiting Registration also will be taken on race day beginning at 7 a.m.

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