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Classical 101

Run Or Walk to Beethoven's Fifth This Saturday in Westerville

This Saturday runners and walkers from around central Ohio will leave their iPods at home and go to Westerville for a 5K with its own soundtrack. The rubber hits the road Saturday, August 11 at 8 a.m. when the Westerville Symphony presents the OhioHealth Beethoven 5K. Join your Classical 101 hosts and Beethoven 5K participants at the starting line at Alum Creek Park, then take a 3.1-mile run or walk through Uptown Westerville to the strains of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Proceeds from the race will help the Westerville Symphony establish a scholarship fund to enable Westerville high school musicians to continue musical studies at Otterbein University. In partnership with Classical 101, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony will be played through speakers at music stations set up every quarter mile along the race course. Race participants will cross the finish line at Otterbein University's Memorial Stadium. Runners who finish the race before Beethoven's Fifth Symphony ends will receive a voucher for a ticket to hear a Masterworks concert of their choice in the Westerville Symphony's 2012-13 season. The OhioHealth Beethoven 5K is the first component of the Westerville Symphony's 2012 Symphony Weekend, which also includes the symphony's performance in Westerville Parks and Recreation Department's final Sounds of the Summer concert, a free concert featuring popular and light classics Sunday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Alum Creek Park's  North Amphitheater, 221 W. Main St., Westerville. Something New for Central Ohio The idea to run a race to Beethoven's Fifth came while marathon runner and Westerville Symphony trustee Will Kopp - ironically - was on a run. "I'm a big Beethoven fan, and I find it some of the most exciting music to run to," Kopp said. "And I was out on a run and I thought, Wow, Beethoven's Fifth. Wouldn't it be fun to hear that during an entire race? And I just thought, Beethoven's Fifth, 5K, that's about 30 minutes or so. Most people could finish a 5K in that time. Why not a race?" Jean Halpin, chief operating officer for OhioHealth Neighborhood Care - lead sponsor of the Beethoven 5K - says the race is both innovative and healthy - for body, mind and spirit. "Classical music has been studied numerous times in how it truly affects the mind and the calming influence it has, the outlet that music gives in keeping people grounded," Halpin said. "We thought that was a really neat connection, that they (the Westerville Symphony) were going to use Beethoven, who has written so many different symphonies, and they are going to be running to it. It was just a really neat connection that we had not seen done in the central Ohio area." Who Can Participate There are no upper or lower age limits for participation in the Beethoven 5K. You also don't need to be a veteran marathoner in order to join in. Westerville Symphony clarinetist Hild Peersen takes Spinning classes and lifts weights at her gym. She expects running to Beethoven's music will be challenging but fun. "I think it's going to be really neat," Peersen said. "I think the second mile will be the hardest, because that will be the slow movement (of the symphony), but I think it should be really fun." And in case you have any doubt that you can make it across the finish line, Kopp says the finale of Beethoven's Fifth will power you through to the end. "Near the end of a race, after you're getting tired, in that one moment when Beethoven moves from the third movement to the fourth movement, that's just so dramatic that it would just pick you right up and get you across the finish line." Participants can register for the OhioHealth Beethoven 5K at Premier Races. Registration is $30. Race and concert information at www.westervillesymphony.org.