Benefit race held Saturday to support Parent to Parent program


The Appalachian Online

Madison Barlow

The fourth annual Spooky Duke charity race will be held this Saturday at 9 a.m. to raise support and awareness for the Parent to Parent Family Support Network – High Country.

The race will have 10K and 5K portions starting at the Peacock Hall parking lot. A costume march, free of charge, will be held as well that provides face painting, hay rides, Halloween craft making and games for children.

Parent to Parent director Kaaren Hayes defined Parent to Parent FSN-HC as a grant and donor-supported system that provides free support, caring connections, information and hope to families who have a premature baby, a child with a disability, an emotional or behavioral challenge, a mental illness, a chronic health condition or to families who are grieving the death of a child.

The race was first started by a student as a final project for one of Hayes’ classes.

“A few years ago, a student we worked with had the choice to do either a project or a paper for her final,” Hayes said. “It was then that she decided she wanted to do a project that would benefit the Parent to Parent program. She started the race, and we’ve continued it since then.”

Hayes attributes the success of the program over the years largely to the help of student volunteers and organizers.

“The amount of student involvement amazes me,” she said. “We have students that are so community minded and work so hard – especially on this race. Students will run, dress up for the costume march or even walk the race route to encourage runners. They do almost anything and everything.”

The Parent to Parent group even paired with some first-year seminar courses to help market and advertise for the race. Freshman social work major Sarah Hawley and her Marketing Messaging and Myth class have worked together to raise awareness and recruit for the race.

Hawley said the most rewarding aspect about organizing the race is the “just knowing the money is going to a good place.” Hayes said she agrees.

“I’m really looking forward to just being with all of the people on the day of the race,” Hayes said. “It’s a good feeling to have everyone working together for a cause while having a lot of fun. It means a lot knowing that so many people are interested in the Parent to Parent program.”

Parent to Parent expects an anticipated number of almost 150 participants at the race.

“We don’t have an exact count right now, but we do expect about 150 people,” Hayes said. “There will be a good amount of runners, and even more families and participants in the costume march. The more the merrier, though. It is truly a fun day.”

The race is a U.S. Track and Field certified race with chip timing. The cost of pre-registration for the 10K is $30 and the cost of pre-registration for the 5K is $20. Registration for these events on the day of the race is available, however the price for same-day registration for the 10K is $35 and for the 5K is $25. The cost of the race includes a race day T-shirt, and all proceeds go back to the Parent to Parent program.

Story: Madison Barlow, Intern News Reporter