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Going the Distance keeps moving

A charity run that started three years ago has seen rapid growth with registrations this year.

The second annual Going the Distance 5K Color Run, started by organizer MaKenzie Hawley, has more than tripled its registration from its first year, one year since it added some color to the mix.

“I figured doing the color run would be a little more energetic and fun with all that powder,” she said, referring to the colored corn starch launched at runners during the 5k.

This year’s color run will start at 1 p.m. Saturday outside the Rosedale Rapids Aquatic Center, 1111 N. 32nd St.

The $10 registration fee includes a t-shirt, sunglasses, colored powder and a chance to win raffle gift cards to various restaurants and businesses. Children 5 and under are free.

This year, runners can have the chance to feel as happy as their donation helps kids with special needs feel by going the distance for those with disabilities.

“It’s an awesome feeling I’d say, just watching people’s face go through the color and enjoying it,” said Hawley. “Running and walking isn’t always the funnest, but the cause is the most important part of it.”

Judging by the uptick in numbers, word has spread that runners agree — Hawley has received 100 registrations so far this year, up from 30 the first year and surpassing her goal of 80.

She’s excited because people are showing as much passion for the cause as the work-based learning specialist and vocational rehabilitation intermediary with Voc Rehab has.

That long title simply means she helps kids succeed in school and either prepare them for further education or to enter the work force.

“With (the funding I had), I couldn’t pay for a lot of activities for special education high school students,” she said.

So, why not raise money while doing something fun, she thought.

Since it started, everything has grown “tremendously,” she said.

Her work partners with high school students in special education classrooms in Fort Dodge, Clarion, Eagle Grove, Webster City, South Hamilton and Southeast Valley school districts. All money raised through the color run goes straight to them for activities and summer camp they normally couldn’t afford.

“I think just the feeling you get after seeing someone else be successful,” is the best part of her work, she said, and the best part of what the funds raised help accomplish. “(There’s often) doubt in people with a disability — they have so much potential, but people don’t let them shine.”

That’s where people like her come in, to show them just how capable they are, preparing them for the “real world.”

This year’s color run will feature 14 different stations of various colored powder with students throwing it, and squirt guns blasting it on runners throughout the course.

More Iowa Central Community College students this year have joined in on the excitement for a smoother experience, overall, bringing renewed energy and vigor with their eagerness to benefit a good cause.

Last year’s color run fundraiser, in partnership in Iowa Central, brought in $2,000. This year’s shows promise to bring in much more, with about 30% more registrants so far. Hawley hopes for at least $2,500, but said that “anything would be great.”

Those interested in registering can email MaKenzie Hawley at hawley@iowacentral.edu or call 515-574-1910. Those interested can also register online by going to EventBrite.com and searching for “Going the Distance 5K Color Run.”