The Delphos Run Club made its April donation to Rock the Heart Thursday evening. Members and sponsors collaborated for $1,367. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
The Delphos Run Club made its April donation to Rock the Heart Thursday evening. Members and sponsors collaborated for $1,367. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
DELPHOS — Five years ago, Mandy Weimerskirch was hoping to get a group of friends together to exercise, give back to the community and socialize. Now the Delphos Running Club has tallied more than $33,000 in donations to local and area charities over the last four years and attendance has grown each year.

“I never imagined how big this was going to be,” Weimerskirch said. “I started this with 19 friends on a cold day in May 2014. Now we have at least 80 people each Thursday evening and last month, two weeks had 110-115 people.”

On Thursday, the group made its first donation of 2018 with a check for $1,367 to Rock for the Heart, a non-profit started by Ottoville native and now Delphos resident Justin Davis. His effort raises money for heart disease research as well as to provide care packages for families and heart patients in the hospital.

The weekly 5K run is also for walkers and joggers. Membership in the club is easy — just show up. After a participant finishes their fifth event, they receive a free T-shirt.

The event is not timed but most keep their own stats.

“I really like it when I hear someone say they beat their old time or had a really good run,” Weimerskirch said. “That’s what it’s about, too; people getting out and moving.”

Participants come from all over the area, including Lima, Spencerville, Van Wert, Ottoville and Fort Jennings.

Weather is a factor for the runs. Weimerskirch said as long as there is no lightning and the temperature is in high 30s to the low 40s, the race is on.

The group meets at the Rustic Cafe on East Second Street at 7 p.m. each Thursday from April through September with the official start time of 7:30 p.m. Many walkers and joggers head out early so everyone finishes around the same time.

Weimerskirch said at least half the runners usually stick around afterward for a beer, SINGO and some food.

“The Rustic has embraced this as well, having food and drink specials and activities for everyone after the run,” she said. “It’s exactly what I imagined.”