It’s not a run for a good cause. It’s a run for several good causes.
The inaugural Olathe Charities 5K will take place next Saturday.
The family-friendly run, held at Frontier Park, will feature more than a dozen local charities for runners to support. There will be entertainment from a deejay, fun warm-up exercises, and a kid zone.
For an extra fee, you can even register for a pooch pass to let your dog join in the fun too.
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Each charity participating in the 5K will have a booth at the event, to educate the community about its cause.
Creating a 5K to support various nonprofit organizations was an innovative solution to a growing need, said Nichole Asquith, the city parks and recreation marketing manager.
In the past year, there were more than 80 different 5K runs in Olathe to support charitable causes. So, it just made sense to create one large run to help as many charities as possible who wanted to combine efforts, she said.
“Using our skills and resources, this event allows us (city parks and recreation staff) to take care of the details and let the charities focus on the fund-raising,” she added.
Plus, it helps out smaller charities that may not have the funds or time to plan a 5K.
“Most people don’t realize there are a lot of logistics and expenditures that go into planning a run,” Asquith said. “It’s a cumbersome process. If you don’t have the manpower, it can be exhausting.”
All the city asks is that each charity provides a few volunteers to help out with the event.
One of the participating charities is the Olathe Public Schools Foundation.
“Putting on a race of this magnitude requires time and expertise we just don’t have at our disposal,” said Cindy VonFeldt, the foundation’s executive director. “We’re grateful the parks and recreation department is generously doing the legwork to give so many nonprofits the opportunity to raise money for our causes. We’re very excited.”
VonFeldt added that money raised from the 5K will help the Olathe Public Schools Foundation tremendously, as the district faces financial hardship this year.
Funds raised by the foundation are used for everything from art supplies in classrooms to funding a STEM summer camp for middle school girls.
“Olathe has a dynamic community of nonprofits working hard to make a difference,” VonFeldt said. “We’re always looking for ways to come together, support each other. To be able to raise money together is wonderful.”
When they register, runners have the opportunity to choose the charity they would like to support. Twenty dollars of the runner’s registration fee will go directly to the charity they selected.
With registration, runners will receive a shirt and a medal.
So far, 14 charities have signed up to participate.
“Even if you’re not a runner, it’s an incredible opportunity to support organizations which give back to our community on a daily basis,” Asquith said. “It’s a way to celebrate Olathe. One of my favorite things about our community is that our residents are so passionate about giving back.”
The Olathe Charities 5K is one of several fund-raisers put on by the city.
In the past several years, the Olathe Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for dozens of local charities.
The Olathe Summer Concert Series has also raised more than $100,000 for nonprofit organizations in the past decade.
For the Olathe Parks and Recreation Department, the charity 5K embodies the city’s spirit of giving.
“It’s going to be a fun morning and we get to introduce the community to a lot of worthy causes,” said Paul Krueger, Olathe parks services manager. “It’s also a great way to help Olathe become happier and healthier.”
To reach Jennifer Bhargava, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Olathe Charities 5K and to register in advance, visit www.olatheks.org/ parksrec/olathe- charities-5k.