Charity run raises money for Children’s Hospitals

WOODSFIELD — On another warm Saturday in October, a group of runners gathered for a good cause in Woodsfield.

The 40th Annual Children’s Hospital Charity Run commenced at 8 a.m. Oct. 7 and ended at 8 p.m., with runners chalking up as many miles as they could on a 1-mile loop within that time frame to raise money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, among other children’s hospitals.

Specifically, the money was raised to help defray the cost of the “free and reduced care that is provided to our children from the Woodsfield area.” Nationwide Children’s Hospital reported that more than 1,300 youngsters from Monroe, Belmont and Noble counties were treated in Columbus last year.

The event, also known as “Charlie’s Run,” was founded by Charlie Kozlesky, who has participated in all prior 39 events. He noted that runners from outside the Ohio Valley also ran to defray costs for care provided for children in other area hospitals. Overall, the charity has raised more than $750,000 and the goal for this year’s race was to raise $20,000.

The original idea for the event came to fruition through Kozlesky’s friendship with fellow runners Mitch Toto and Dave McWilliams. In 1977, the men originally decided to do a run from Pittsburgh to Columbus for their fundraiser. The event was later moved to the Monroe County Airport, and eventually to downtown Woodsfield.

Toto underwent open heart surgery last fall and chose this fundraiser for his first running event since the surgery. He racked up 20 miles during the 12-hour period, and his daughter, Chris Nicholes, ran with him and exceeded his total, covering 30 miles.

Participants from Woodsfield included Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher, who ran 39 miles, and this year’s winner, Lori Michener, who ran a distance of 45 miles. Another Woodsfield resident, Sherry Wilson, ran 19 miles. Kozlesky, 66, ran 43 miles. A total of 19 runners participated, with most being from Ohio. Six were from out of state, hailing from New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri and West Virginia.

According to Kozlesky, runners get sponsors before the race who pledge a certain amount of money per mile run, or sponsors can simply donate a lump sum. A total of $15,000 was raised during the event, and Kozlesky is still hoping to reach his goal of $20,000.

To make a donation, checks can be made payable to Children’s Hospital and can be either dropped off at the city building in Woodsfield or mailed to Charlie Kozlesky, 254 Brownstone Court, Westerville, OH 43081.