Bay View Run Series goes the distance for the community

June 30, 2017

By Sheila Julson

Wild Workouts & Wellness is sponsoring the Bay View Run Series, four benefit runs that take place between July and November.

Wild Workouts is a personal training and fitness business in Bay View formed by owner Amber Budahn in 2011.

The individual events are Run for the Parks, Dash to the Bash, The Great Pumpkin Chase, and Turkey Trot. Registration fees are donated to different Bay View charities, and the runs represent Budahn’s dual mission not only to help change the lives of her clients, but also to promote community health by supporting local organizations.

Originally, each of the four runs began as a discrete event until Budahn decided to combine them this year as a series.

“I figured that now that we’re doing all these runs, let’s just make it a series,” Budahn said. “These events can work together on a common good, which is supporting community organizations and promoting community fitness. The more runners we have at each event, the more donation dollars we can give. By having a series, each run supports and promotes the others.”

All are 5K run/walks. Participation fees for the four runs are about $20 each. There are no fees for the Turkey Trot except for a donation of nonperishable food, which is given to the Bay View Community Center’s food pantry. Runners and walkers are not required to secure sponsors.

Run for the Parks
takes place July 25 at 6:30pm at Humboldt Park. The run is in its eighth year and helps support The Park People with its efforts as citizen stewards of Milwaukee County Parks. Through a partnership with Bay View Neighborhood Association, some of the funds are used to make improvements in Humboldt Park. “At Run for the Parks, runners start at the band shell on a Chill on the Hill concert night, and there’s a nice little get-together after,” Budahn said.

Wild Workouts & Wellness helped with last year’s Run for the Parks and will be more involved this year by volunteering on the course with tasks such as directing runners.

The impetus for Dash to the Bash was born when Budahn, a longtime Bay View Bash participant, struck up conversations with Sue Loomis, one of the Bash organizers. They talked about ways to get people to the Bash earlier in the day and came up with the run. The first one was held last year.

This year’s Dash to the Bash takes place Sept. 16 at 10:30am. Runners take off near Sven’s on Kinnickinnic Avenue and wind through Humboldt Park. Proceeds go to the Bay View Community Fund (BVCF), which in turn gives funding to local organizations including Canine Cupids and Kompost Kids. Budahn said last year’s inaugural Dash to the Bash had about 100 participants and that $150 in proceeds were donated to BVCF.

Last year, Tom Held, a personal trainer at Wild Workouts & Wellness, coordinated with the BVNA to create The Great Pumpkin Chase, a run that benefits BVNA and that is part of its annual Pumpkin Pavilion event. Racers are encouraged to wear costumes, so creativity and panache win this run rather than speed and endurance. The Pumpkin Chase features a quarter-mile kids’ run around the lagoon.

“We’re going to build that up a little this year by having people in costumes around the course, with parents and other volunteers,” Held said.

The Pumpkin Chase premiered last year and drew about 30 participants, Held said. Costumes included a shark, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and even the Bay View fox. The event raised $135 for BVNA.

The Turkey Trot was the first run Budahn established. She started it 13 years ago, when she first began working as a personal trainer
— before she formed Wild Workouts & Wellness. “I just wanted to get people together on Thanksgiving morning for a light run, and we never stopped doing it,” Budahn said.

Bay View Community Center’s president and CEO Linda Nieft said the 2016 Turkey Trot generated 11 large boxes and 13 bags of nonperishable food for the pantry, equal to about $1,000 in value. She said that food donations typically increase around Thanksgiving, but the Turkey Trot donations are especially helpful to meet the needs of families using the food pantry at that time of the year. Nieft said the center’s teen leadership and emergency preparedness group, the Ready Kids has volunteered at Turkey Trot in the past and may do so again this year.

Giving Back

Wild Workouts & Wellness has grown to 370 clients since opening in 2011, Budahn said. She opened her second site in February 2016, a 3,600-square-foot-space at Delaware and Rusk avenues in the former Threadworks (and briefly, Bay View Area Redcats) building. Hintz grocery store occupied the space in an earlier era. The second location focuses on boot-camp-style workouts, while the location on Delaware just north of Oklahoma Avenue is dedicated to one-on-one and small group workouts.

The business has expanded its wellness offerings, including a nutrition program and a free weekly summer run on Wednesday evenings. As a newer mom — her son Frank turns 2 years old this month — Budahn plans to offer mom and baby workouts, for which she said she’s received many requests.

“Bay View is a special place. I live here and I work here, and it’s great to be an addition to it,” she said.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to the Bay View Compass.

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