“Everyone who participates in our event is a superhero in our eyes,” said event coordinator Rhonda Race. “And this year, we’d like all participants to dress as their favorite superhero, if they are so inclined. We wanted to add another element of fun to our race.”
In its third year, Miles for Smiles is a 5K, two-mile walk and Kids Fun Run. Registration will start at the McDowell Fitness Center at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford at 8 a.m. Sunday. The race begins at 9 a.m.
The entry fee is $15; kids can do the Kids Fun Run for free if accompanied by an adult.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit McKean County Special Olympics and the McKean Unit of the American Cancer Society.
Bill Walb from the American Cancer Society explained that the proceeds from this event goes to the Road to Recovery. This program provides rides for cancer patients whether it’s in Bradford or out of town, such as Roswell Park Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., or hospitals in Cleveland, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.
“They just need to have cancer and be able to walk,” he said.
The other part of the money is earmarked for the local Special Olympics. Jan Knight explained that the money they receive from Miles for Smiles pays for T-shirts, drinks and snacks for about 300 athletes that participate in the local Olympics. It also pays for the approximately 30 Special Olympians who qualified for the state Olympics.
Race said these two organizations were chosen because “they are near and dear to my heart. I have a sister who has benefited greatly and enjoyed participating in the Special Olympics. And, unfortunately, I also have had family member who have fought cancer. Some are still fighting while others have won.”
“Last year with the support and generosity of businesses, participants and volunteers, we were able to raise $4,800, which was split equally between the two organizations. We are hoping that this year’s event is even bigger and better.
“We hope that people their inner superhero come to the surface to help two great organizations and have a great time in the process.”
The walk/run will be followed by an awards presentation, Chinese auction and refreshments. People are also encouraged to come and cheer participants along the race route, which includes Campus Drive and around the loop at Pitt-Bradford.
“We have had one Special Olympian who used braces to walk participate in the past,” Race said. “It was an amazing sight as everyone comes together to raise money for these causes. Everyone walks away with a smile on their faces – or maybe a tear in their eyes.”
More information and registration forms are available on the organization’s website www.milesforsmilesrun.weebly.com. Any questions about participating in the race or lending a hand financially can be directed to Race at firstname.lastname@example.org.