FitFest 2023 to be held in Huntington in honor of a late doctor

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — An annual event will return to Huntington this weekend with the focus on being active and staying fit in honor of a local doctor who made that his legacy.

The City of Huntington will come together with the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District Saturday to host FitFest 2023, an event celebrating the life of Dr. Paul Ambrose and raise funds that go toward the expansion of the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH).

FitFest Communications Director Bryan Chambers said the trail has been in existence since around 2013 as a way to pay tribute to the late doctor who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Dr. Ambrose received his medical degree from Marshall and you know, he really dedicated his life to improving health outcomes and fighting obesity on the national level,” said Chambers.

The event will include a 5K run and walk organized by O Such Tri-State Race Planners, bike rides on the Ambrose Trail and a children’s bike rodeo teaching them skills and safety on an obstacle course. In addition, there will be kids activities presented by the Huntington YMCA and the Huntington Children’s Museum.

Three bike rides including a 6 mile ride, a 10 mile, and a long distance ride will showcase various features of the PATH.

Chambers said while the event celebrates the life and vision of Dr. Ambrose, an additional reason to have it also comes along with that.

“Another is to get more people familiar with the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health, and it’s a great event for people who are looking to get back into fitness or just getting into fitness in general, it’s a great introductory event for people to come out and be active,” he said.

Ambrose worked closely with the Surgeon General’s Office and its “Call to Action” on overweight and obesity, which he was on his way to Los Angeles to a conference for on September 11, 2001 when he was caught in the terrorist attacks.

Chambers said Ambrose’s efforts of fighting against obesity were some of great significance.

“We know that in West Virginia that has been an ongoing issue, an ongoing challenge, and to have an annual event that honors his legacy and the challenges that he dedicated his life to address is very important,” said Chambers.

He said they always try to hold FitFest around 9/11.

The rain or shine event will take place this Saturday at Ritter Park. All kids’ activities, the bike ride and bike rodeo are free, however registration for the 5K is $25 before September 9 and $30 the morning of the event.

The schedule of events for FitFest include the following:

· 8 a.m.: day-of registration for the 5K begins

· 9 a.m.: 5K begins

· 10 a.m.: 5K awards ceremony and moment of remembrance

· 10:05 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: kids’ activities (bike rodeo, YMCA and Huntington Children’s Museum activities)

· 10:15 a.m.: Bike Rides leave from Ritter Park Shelter # 2 on the PATH

· 10:30 am: Kids Fun Run

The City of Huntington will also be on hand selling vintage bicycle license plates for $1 the day of the event and providing more information about the PATH.

For more information on the event you can visit its page on the city’s website or search Paul Ambrose Trail on Facebook.