Cancer Run Not Just a Race, It’s a Big-Time Event
By Doug Carroll
Maybe you can run in a race, but can you run a race?
Jose Moreno, GCU’s community outreach manager, insists he’s not a good candidate to run five or 10 kilometers, as hundreds will do on Saturday morning in the inaugural Run to Fight Children’s Cancer on campus.
However, he has learned over the past few months how to run — as in oversee — a race. Putting on a quality event is much harder than it looks, involving myriad details and a to-do list that never quite gets done.
“This is not just a race,” says Moreno, who has been with the University since January. “It’s a family event that supports a great cause. And we get to utilize our brand-new Arena.”
You name it, Moreno has done it. He has stuffed goody bags, arranged for port-a-potties and ordered case upon case of water. (How many volunteers? How many bagels? What about medical care? Got permits from the city? It’s a formidable checklist.)
He has benefited from the expert guidance of Darryl Toupkin of Field Works, a local race-promotion company, and Chris Giles of Raceplace Events, which will supply high-tech chip timing for the 5K and 10K. (Toupkin is a cancer survivor.)
“We’ve got people assisting with this who are known as the best in the running community,” Moreno says, acknowledging that they have helped with the learning curve.
Largely because of Moreno’s all-out effort, GCU’s first-ever community run will be second to none. Here are 10 reasons why:
- All proceeds (not just a portion) are going to the Children’s Cancer Network, a charity founded by GCU’s own Patti Luttrell, an adjunct instructor in the College of Nursing.
- A short Cancer Survivors’ Walk after the 5K and 10K will provide special recognition of those (and their loved ones) who have battled the disease.
- The involvement of Olivia Baumgardner and Frank Kirimi. Olivia, 4, of Phoenix, has fought leukemia and will serve as honorary starter for the two races. Frank, a GCU alumnus and former cross country runner who is now involved in humanitarian efforts in his native Kenya, will run his own 5K — nearly 10,000 miles away — on Saturday in support.
- It’s kind of a big deal. As many as 800 runners and walkers are expected, and those numbers are considered spectacular for a first-time event. The video boards in GCU Arena will be used for race footage and to recognize the top finishers in each age group, male and female.
- Fun for the family. Pity the husband or wife who gets stuck with the kids while a race is going on — but not at this event. There will be jump castles, face painting, clowns making balloon animals, raffles, and arts and crafts.
- Mascot madness. You can’t beat a lineup of The Gorilla (Suns), Big Red (Cardinals), Baxter (Diamondbacks), Howler (Coyotes), Scorch (Mercury) and GCU’s own Thunder. All are scheduled to be on hand. Can you say “photo op”?
- Race courses that start and finish at the Arena. It just wouldn’t feel right if the big house weren’t involved in a big way. So it is.
- Cool souvenir T-shirts. Unlike some race shirts, which look like billboards, these are clean and uncluttered — the way runners and walkers like ’em.
- Racing socks. Ever done an event that gave you a pair of these? Probably not. The first 500 people to sign up got them.
- Ease of registration. Go to www.runtofightcancer.com and sign up in advance, or come out on Saturday. Registration begins at 6 a.m. in the Arena, with the 10K starting at 7:30 and the 5K at 7:40. Post-race awards — including medals for the top three finishers, male and female, in each age group in each race — will be presented at 9.
Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].