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Fun spin on .5K lets everyone run a ‘marathon’: HKUW raising money for its programs by having a .5K race where everyone can participate

For the first time in its 69 years, The Heart of Kentucky United Way is hosting its own fundraiser, due to an unexpected decrease in revenue that supports programs in the four counties it serves.

HKUW Executive Director Stephanie Blevins said the organization is putting on a fun, non-traditional “.5K” race — not a typical 5K (3.1-mile long) race, but a .5K, which is only one lap around the Centre College football field.

Another unique feature about the .5K is that it’s on Friday, Sept. 14, and participants can walk the track anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will take just a few minutes to finish. Blevins said this will allow people to be in a “race” for a good cause and still have their entire Friday night and weekend free.

The entry fee is $25 per person in advance and $35 for “procrastinators.” Online registration is available at bit.ly/HKUWhalfK.

The entry fee includes a vehicle sticker promoting the .5K Heart of Kentucky United Way and a T-shirt that reads, “.5K — Because .6K would just be CRAZY.”

The light-hearted flier advertising the event reads: “As far as we are concerned — it’s a marathon!”

Everyone can participate, Blevins said. “Overachievers” can run one lap around the outside lane of the track. Everyone else — the “underachievers” — can leisurely stroll and stop at any one of about 20 sponsors’ tents that can make the walk around the track a little easier.

These pit stops are sponsored by local businesses and will be set up around the track. They include bananas for potassium; cupcakes “for a carb reload” at the half-way mark; convenient rest areas with chairs; a medical tent for Band-Aids (if you develop a blister); a cooling station with fans; a hydration station that will give out water; and a fudge tent, where you can eat fudge “while you fudge” to the finish line by taking a shortcut through the football field.

Near the end of the race, there will be a tent where participants can freshen up before having a photo taken crossing the finish line.

If that’s still too strenuous and you don’t have a few minutes to walk, an extra $25 donation will get you a ride to the finish line in a chauffeured golf cart.

Also, if you’re familiar with Centre College’s “flame run,” where students run naked around a flame sculpture on campus, but never had the opportunity to run it yourself, you’re in luck. For a few more dollars, you’ll be given a plastic flame to carry around the track — but you must be fully clothed. “You can say you ran the flame at Centre College,” Blevins said.

In a news release Blevins said, “a marathon is daunting, but a .5K — one lap around the track — even I can do.”

“This is a great opportunity to support your community and brag to all your friends you ran a marathon,” she stated.

For an extra $5 donation, “Overachievers” will be timed and awarded with large, “gaudy” gold medals to wear, she said.

Blevins said the event would be a good place for employees, employers and co-workers to have a few minutes of fun during the work day. They can even participate during their lunch breaks.

She said maybe some employers will give their workers about 15 minutes off to participate.

“They won’t even break a sweat!” Blevins said.

“All non-profits are experiencing the need to look for new and innovative ways to raise funds. HKUW’s goal is to create opportunities for a good life for all. Funding make this possible,” she said.

Proceeds from the .5K Fun Walk and Run will benefit the Heart of Kentucky United Way, which invested more than $417,000 to run 39 programs throughout Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties in 2018, according to the release. HKUW says 99 cents out of every dollar raised stays in this area, while 1 cent supports international work.