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July 5, 2012
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Run, White & Blue 5K

By Jared Curtis

The 2012 Run White & Blue 5K event takes place on Sunday, July 8 at 8:30 a.m. starting at Principal Park. For more information, visit facebook.com/RunWhiteandBlue or centraliowashelter.org/5k.

New running event adds a patriotic element

There are plenty of 5Ks throughout the metro area, but not many of them have a patriotic element. That’s why the members of the Central Iowa Services Shelter & Services Veteran Outreach Project came up with the idea to hold a race around the Fourth of July to not only honor those who served, but also benefit homeless veterans in the area.

“Our group, including Morgan Dickerson, Cody Eliff, Mallory Kowal and Sabina Wieczner, wanted to come up with a summer event that would not only highlight our veteran outreach program, but also help spread the word about the new facilities that will be opening this fall,” said Alex Rooney, lead coordinator of fundraising and development for The Veteran Outreach project. “A few people had suggested a 5K, and we knew that Des Moines has a great running community, so we thought it was a great event to tie our veteran program to the Fourth of July holiday.”

The Veteran Outreach Project works to end homelessness among veterans by enhancing communication between veterans and service providers.

“Our main goal is to eliminate the gap of services homeless veterans face. A lot of the veterans qualify for benefits, but they might not know about them,” Rooney said. “We work to educate veterans about the services that are available to them and help get them into the programs and counseling.”

The 5K run starts at Principal Park and heads toward Gray’s Lake, returning back to the stadium for the finish.

“The Iowa Cubs had their own 5K a few years ago but recently stopped doing it. The staff was looking to put together another 5K, so we thought it was perfecting timing to try another running event,” Rooney said. “It has been a perfect partnership.”

Registration for the event is $35 (www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=8084) and participants receive a free T-shirt, a parking pass and a ticket to the Iowa Cubs game against the Omaha Storm Chasers at 1:05 p.m. Pre-registration is encouraged, but participants can register the day of. All proceeds will benefit The Veteran Outreach Program.

“Since this is our first year, we weren’t sure how many people would get involved, but we’re already close to 100 people already signed up,” Rooney said. “Our goal was 150 people, so hopefully we’ll get close to that number.”

Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers and the top two male and female finishers in the kids run that follows the 5K race. There will also be a costume contest with the best outfits taking home a prize.

“We have a number of prizes for the best patriotic costumes,” Rooney said. “There should be plenty of American flag gear.”

Rooney hopes the idea catches on and becomes an annual event.

“The Veteran Outreach Project is new this year, so this is the first big event we’ve put together. We tried to create a fun event where people can get some exercise and support a good cause,” Rooney said. “Hopefully the word spreads, and it becomes a yearly event that people look forward to around the Fourth of July.” CV



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