I’ve run in many races, but the Mike Donohoe 5K that Scott and I help “run” has got to be one of my more satisfying efforts.
Five years ago, a friend Scott runs with told us about a new race that was taking form. He asked us if we’d like to join the committee – afterall, every race committee needs a few runners, right? The timing could not have been better. We were closing a particularly painful chapter in our lives and this new race served as a perfect way for us to focus on something greater than ourselves.
The Mike Donohoe 5K race was conceived because of a sad ending to a man’s life. Mike Donohoe fought and lost his battle with Melanoma, and to keep his memory alive, his closest friends and family decided a road race would best emulate the life that Mike brought to those around him. Scott and I never knew Mike, but we were quickly and naturally invited into the fold of his family and friends. We were all there for the same goal.
Yesterday, the 5th Mike Donohoe 5K was run on a gorgeous Fall day, with the sun shining and the leaves turning. We had over 800 participants who ran and walked the flat 5K course. As Scott and I manned the post-registration table, we were struck by how many people wrote checks out for much more than the actual race entry fee. Many registrants complimented us on our “green approach” to registration, which included 3 laptops to record runners’ names, ages, towns, etc. The timing people, armed with a simple thumb drive, easily downloaded the information and uploaded to their system. Voila, that was easy.
Other participants commented on how community friendly our event is. We have a kids race that goes off a half hour before the main event, and we have medals for the top finishers! The other kids get ribbons for finishing, that include a coupon for a free ice cream at the local ice cream place. In addition, we also have “Team” and “Club” categories, so if the Cross Country Team or Chorus club from any area school competes as a team and obtains the best time, they receive a trophy bowl that sits at their school for the year. Many parents loved this idea and thought it a great way to get/keep kids out there engaging in healthy activities.
And for the masses, we had food. Boy, did we have food! I indulged in a delicious Kayem hotdog (donated in volume by Kayem!), once my post-registration duties were done. There was a popcorn machine and lots of baked goods provided by some of the committee members and other volunteers. Add a DJ, some decent raffle prizes, and cash awards for the top 3 finishers, and you've got yourself a PARTY!
Over the past 5 years, this event has raised a significant amount of money that has gone towards the Melanoma foundation and to our local high school in the form of a scholarship. The genesis of this race may be gone, and sadly, his family and friends are left with only memories. But new memories continue to grow with every year this event takes place. A number of students have benefited from the scholarship fund and who knows how many people might survive Melanoma or prevent it from occurring in the first place because of this event.