By Lauren Boughner
Nine years ago, 110 people gathered around St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church to run a 5K to benefit the church’s Haiti Mission. The event has now grown to more than 400 people from Carmel and the surrounding communities participating each year, whether it’s because they love running or they want to do something to help people in need.
“Why not merge running with the Haiti ministry?” said Jeffrey Hess, who had the original idea for the event, when talking about his own passion for running.
This year, the run will take place at 8 a.m. July 30 and will be followed by a Kids Fun Run at 9:15 a.m. Everyone is welcome, Hess said, from serious runners to community members who want to have fun with a team.
The course is USA Track & Field certified, and times will be recorded by End:Result. An Indy Eleven mascot will cheer on participants, who will receive free beer at the finish line.
But this run distinguishes itself by being more than just fun, the organizers said.
“You can go to any 5K out there, but the impact we can have goes so much further than what people can imagine,” Hess said.
St. Elizabeth Seton partners with St. Geneveive Parish in Duval, Haiti, giving proceeds to the pastor to help the community.
“Kids are now back in the schoolhouse,” Haiti Mission Secretary Amber Scannell said about the improvements that have been made since the 2010 earthquake. And between $4,000 and $5,000 is given to aid this community each year because of this event, Hess said.
“Regardless of how you did, you can walk away feeling like you did something good,” organizer Jeffrey Hines said.
Scannell said she is thankful for the awareness that this event brings to the suffering in Haiti.
“I think that’s the key thing, because from there, things can happen,” Scannell said.
The race costs $25 through July 22. To learn more, visit carmel5kforhaiti.com.