Make memories and start a new tradition this year
By Megan Hopps
SUN PRESS Newspapers
Three years ago Julie Smith decided she wanted to host a Thanksgiving 5K at her home to benefit cancer patients.
“I used to do the Turkey Trot down in Minneapolis,” she said. “But I like doing this because the money goes for a good cause and it’s a nice way to spend time with friends and enjoy a run or walk by the river.”
It all started back in 2011 when Julie and her family began raising funds for Relay for Life in Champlin. Together, Julie and her family participated in the run downtown, but Julie always wished the race were closer because she had to hurry back and prepare for guests.
“That’s when I thought ‘I could do this,’” Julie said. “And I could raise money for some important causes.”
The Smith’s ask for $25 per runner which pays for a “Run for a Reason” t-shirt and the remainder is donated to the Champlin Park Relay for Life, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Choroideremia Research Foundation.
“I decided to include the Choroideremia Research Foundation, a rare genetic disease that causes blindness, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because my dear friend’s son has Choroideremia and I have friends in Champlin who have two children with Cystic Fibrosis,” Julie said. “I wanted to find a way I could help with their fundraising efforts.”
The Thanksgiving 5K begins at the Smith’s house bright and early at 8 a.m. Runners start at 705 West River Road Parkway and head down to Donie Gallaway Park and back again. Julie says many runners enjoy the fact that it’s in the neighborhood and along the river and adds that the route does not intersect any busy roads. Runners that register before Nov. 22 get a “Run for a Reason” long sleeve t-shirt. After the race, water and breakfast treats will be provided.
“It grows every year,” Julie said. “And people of all abilities are welcome.”
Last year 129 racers raised over $2,500 for the three foundations. Some people chose not to participate, but still donated to the cause of their choice.
“It’s a healthy way to start Thanksgiving with a giving spirit,” Julie said.
Contact Megan Hopps at [email protected]