Spooky Duke 2019

Boone community dresses up and runs to help High Country families

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Spooky Duke 2019

Camryn Collier, A&C Reporter

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People dressed up as pineapples, jellybeans, butterflies, superheroes, villains and Yosef ran and walked alongside over 300 people in the Spooky Duke 5K and 10K Oct. 26. 

The run/walk was sponsored by Parent to Parent, a Reich College of Education program. Its mission is to work with families with children with special needs to “provide information and resources,”said senior psychology major and Parent to Parent volunteer Kayla Frey. 

App State alumna Jennifer McClure created Spooky Duke as a 5K in 2011 for a social work project, said Parent to Parent director Kaaren Hayes. 

With the hopes for growth, the former dean of the college of education Charles R. Duke sponsored the race. The event was named in honor of him and the Halloween season, Hayes said. 

Over the years, Spooky Duke became a 5K and 10K run/walk, along with a costume march and silent auction. 

“We realized that there were a lot of people who wanted to make it accessible for anyone who wanted to participate. That’s really important to us,” Hayes said. “So, (it’s important for) having the option to walk or run or participating in any way they can, making sure that you can include people who may need child care, and making sure there are even things for the kids to do. We want it to be a family event.” 

Along with more events added, Spooky Duke also increased in team runners. These teams are made up of organizations like Blue Ridge Vision, Kaleidoscope and Appalachian Educators. 

The implementation of teams, as well as the expansion of the event has increased participation over the years, Hayes said.  

So, (it’s important for) having the option to walk or run or participating in any way they can, making sure that you can include people who may need child care, and making sure there are even things for the kids to do. We want it to be a family event.”

— Kaaren Hayes

The high number participation is important for Spooky Duke and Parent to Parent because the event is completely grant and fundraiser supported, said volunteer and former Parent to Parent intern Olivia Cullipher.

“(Spooky Duke) is where we get a large portion of our funding from. This money is how we help our families with our support groups and programs,” such as educational workshops and emotional support, Cullipher said.

If the run/walk raises $10,000, the Health Foundation in Wilkes County matches every dollar raised, Hayes said. In 2018, Spooky Duke raised over $21,000 for Parent to Parent. 

At the registration booth, Cullipher estimated about 375 people participated in the 5K and 10K. 

Charlena Townsend, a second grade teacher at Parkway Elementary School, brought her daughter to run in the 5K with her friends.

“There are a lot of needs, and I see a lot of it everyday in the classrooms. A lot of these parents need the support. It’s easy to give money to a race that’s for such a good cause,” Townsend said.