Rainy fun at Ouabache sets the stage for 2020 Run the State return

posted by Brent Brown on June 29, 2020

A drizzly morning didn’t seem to bother a small bison herd as they relaxed on the wet ground of an enclosure that appeared to dampen increasingly by the minute Saturday, June 27.

Selina Snelling (IDOE) poses with one of Ouabache State Park’s many bison.

The same could be said of the state of Indiana employees and their families and friends who ran or walked the scenic course at Ouabache State Park. The kick-off event of the 2020 Run the State 5K and Hike Series turned out to be fun for all involved in spite of some rain and gray skies.

Delayed from its originally planned April start at Indiana Dunes State Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic former state forest and game preserve managed to offer plenty of fun – and many unique sights to see – for several dozen participants.

Holly Kaup (DCS) participated in the Run the State photo scavenger hunt. She’s seen here at the Ouabache State Park sign.

Smiles were the order of the day, and if the relaxing bison were any indication of the day’s mood, the generally leisurely strolls taken by the participants were fitting on a dreary day that still exuded optimism for future outdoor events during the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus.

Social distancing encouraged participants to run or walk at their own pace, and that seemed to be a draw all its own for those who visited the park. After all, there was plenty to see and do.

Lori Freeman (IDEM) snaps a selfie with her new 2020 Run the State 5K and Hike Series t-shirt.

Deborah Petersen is a frequent visitor to Ouabache, so she’s familiar with the quaint surroundings that, even to many in the northeastern part of the state, are something of a hidden Hoosier treasure.

“One of my favorite spots to walk is along the river,” said Petersen, referring to the nearby Wabash River. “Ouabache” is the name given to the river by French settlers based on the moniker given to it by the Miami Native Americans who first settled in the area.

Petersen, who recently retired from FSSA, said she planned to visit some friends at a campground. As the rain started to fall, she wasn’t disturbed in the slightest.

“I’m ready for anything,” she said with a laugh. “I brought an umbrella.”

Molly McGuire (FSSA) is seen here with Chris and Corbin Ray and Rileigh and Joely Bertram. Corbin was especially excited about the medal he received after completing the 5K.

Also ready for whatever the day could bring was young Corbin Wray, who after receiving a medal for completing the 5k from Indiana State Personnel Department wellness coordinator Ashley Martin, excitedly took a couple quick laps around the pavement near the park’s Rustic Oak Shelter.

“This is my first real medal,” Corbin said excitedly. The boy was accompanied by his father Chris Ray whose girlfriend Molly McGuire and her children, Rileigh and Joely Bertram, also finished the 5K. The happy group noted that they plan to be part of additional Run the State events this season. McGuire currently works for FSSA as a vocational/rehab counselor, operating out of the Muncie office.

They plan to tackle the hike at Spring Mill State Park July 11, then finish another 5K at Indiana Dunes State Park Oct. 17.

Jill Brown (IHCDA) and Josh Brown (IDOC) came prepared for a drizzly morning at Ouabache State Park.

Josh and Jill Brown were two other employees who said they enjoyed the first Run the State event of 2020. Josh works for the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) as a release specialist; Jill is a program accountant for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). They said they particularly enjoyed watching the bison, who were having a sort of brunch during the 5K. After a relaxing morning in the enclosure, the herd started to move as lunchtime approached giving onlookers a unique view of the massive majestic creatures. They aren’t shy about photo ops, and there were several chances to get a few good snaps of them as part of this season’s Run the State scavenger hunt activity.

All-in-all, it was a cheery start to what promises to be a summer (and early autumn) full of fun for all who join.

Masks? Check. Umbrellas? Check. Smiles? Check… we think. SBOA’s Bernadette Kosins was accompanied by a happy group for the June 27 5K at Ouabache State Park. Pictured with Bernadette are James McKinnon, Alex Koontz, Aubrey Doyle, Paige Spratt, and Allison Kosins.

Follow the links below to sign up for future Run the State 5K and Hike Series events and check out investinyourhealthindiana.com regularly for important wellness news and tips, upcoming events, fitness center discounts, and much more!

You and your family can find ways to stay healthy all year long – and have plenty of fun doing it.

Run the State events couldn’t happen without the help of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Seen here are Jerry Hiday and Rebecca Clay.

Spring Mill State Park (July 11)

Fort Harrison State Park (Aug. 15) – Registration info coming soon!

Indiana Dunes State Park (Oct. 17)

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