Annual 5K Event Returns April 27

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Rock The Block is an annual event that has become a community favorite on the southside. In 2018, more than 1,500 runners, walkers and volunteers raised more than $29,000 which benefitted 21 charities.

The event is the brainchild of Erin Smith, a certified Zumba and group fitness instructor, who wanted to do something positive for the community.  

Smith moved to Center Grove 18 years ago and is a mother of two. Her hope for Rock The Block is that it remains a tradition where families create lasting memories.

“Race Day is always filled with excitement, laughter, competition, fellowship and learning moments,” Smith says. “This year’s event expects more than 2,000 people to participate and rock it.”

Smith says that she hopes the event is a catalyst to improve the community in multiple ways. 

“Two of the most important ways would be supporting programs in our community focused on helping children and families, as well as improving the connectivity of trails in our county,” Smith says.

Some participants have endured major health issues and have used this event as a catalyst to better their health and the health of their family.

Andrea Jahnke, a Center Grove Elementary School fourth-grade teacher and mother of two, wanted her family to value health and wellness. She originally used the event for her son.

“When he was 10 years old, I bribed him into doing a couch-to-5K training program with me,” Jahnke says. “As we ran, I set a good pace for him, ran beside him and offered him words of encouragement. To my surprise, he said that it was the best day of his life and that he was proud he was doing this.”

This is the fourth year for the event, which begins and ends on the Center Grove campus. Funds are raised for charities in the community. Last year, the Kid’s Run took place in the Student Activity Center.

“People love a positive way to support their community,” Jahnke says. “When race participants register, they can choose a charity for their funds to support. Additionally, it’s a great way to stay in shape. And it’s nice to see people in the community value the things you do, like health and wellness.”

Jahnke says that she is extremely proud of both her children for all their efforts and that Rock The Block has become a tradition for her entire family.

For Karol Brandon, board director for the Center Grove Aquatic Club and mother of three, Rock The Block is also a family tradition. She has participated in the event since its conception.

“My family loves to stay fit, but rarely takes the time to exercise together as our schedules are so hectic,” Brandon says. “Rock The Block is a great way for us to enjoy the day together and with our friends and swim family as well.”

According to Brandon, Rock The Block does so much for the community. Not only do multiple charities benefit financially, but it brings the community together for a morning of fun.

“Since weather isn’t always predictable, the student activity center has enhanced the experience for celebrating with friends and family and thanking the sponsors after the event,” Brandon says.

Smith adds that she wants to encourage the entire community to come out and ROCK IT on April 27th at 6:30 a.m. The event includes scenic courses, food, music, vendors, awards and giveaways    guaranteeing fun for everyone. Proceeds benefit area trail projects and organizations serving youth and families of the Center Grove School Corporation area and Johnson County. 

“Invite your next-door neighbor, your kids from out of town, or someone from church. You never know what God has in store,” Smith says. “Extend an invite and meet a new friend or create a tradition. Bring all the kids – wagons and strollers are encouraged on the 5K route. Costume runners are welcome, too. Collectively, we will make our community an even better place to live, work, and play.”

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