A Seymour city official is taking steps to improve his own health and encouraging others to join him in training for a 5K run.

District 3 City Councilman Matt Nicholson has issued a challenge to all residents to participate in the annual Seymour Oktoberfest 5K this year with him, especially those who have never done so in the past.

“I hear people talk about wanting to get into shape or back into shape, but it is hard to find the motivation,” he said. “I thought this would be a way to help people set and reach a fitness goal and hopefully go beyond.”

To provide encouragement, motivation and support, Nicholson is organizing a group training program that starts Monday at Seymour High School in the entrance area outside the pool and will meet each week until the Oktoberfest 5K on Oct. 1.

“This allows us to get familiar with the Oktoberfest course ahead of time,” he said.

Nicholson is using the Couch to 5K beginner running plan to help people go from sitting on their couch to participating in their very first 5K. There is no cost to join the program.

“It starts off very easy, and truly takes someone from being inactive and eases them into an active lifestyle,” he said.

He hopes to have several times available to work with peoples’ schedules and currently has three different days with mornings and one evening covered.

“I hope to find an extra volunteer to add one or two more evenings,” he said.

This won’t be the first 5K for Nicholson, but it has been awhile since he ran one, he said.

“I ran many a few years back,” he said.

For those people who have not run for awhile, it’s important to start slow and build back up, he said.

The first day of training starts with a brisk five-minute warm-up walk and then alternates 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

“The goal is three days a week with each week gradually getting harder,” he said. “Even if someone only walked, it is still motivation to get stronger.”

Nicholson said a few years ago at a triathlon in Columbus, he spoke with a very large man whose goal was just to finish the race.

“He succeeded and I believe went on to take several sizes off over time,” he said. “Watching the crowd cheer for him was amazing.”

Another reason Nicholson said he came up with the challenge is to support Mayor Craig Luedeman’s focus on quality of life in Seymour.

“I had a person tell me recently that when they go into Columbus, they see people out biking, running, walking and being active in general, and they think that would be a great place to live,” Nicholson said. “Seymour has many things already and several more in the works for an active and healthy community. I want to encourage this forward momentum.”

So far, about 10 people have requested information and said they were interested in being a part of the program.

Nicholson said his goal is 15 participants this year.

“Regardless of the numbers, if one person grabs onto a healthier lifestyle from this then it will all be worth it,” he said.

If you go

What: Seymour Councilman Matt Nicholson’s 5K Challenge

Where: Training sessions will meet outside the entrance to the Seymour High School pool.

When: Aug. 1 – Oct. 1, ending with participation in the Seymour Oktoberfest 5K. Sessions will meet three times a week with morning and evenings available.

Cost: Free

For more information: Contact Matt Nicholson at or call 812-528-6319.

January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.