Just as expected, the THON 5K this year was even better than the last and now we are more excited for THON weekend than ever. VALLEY sat down with Daniel Cooley and Jillian House, the passionate and motivated THON 5K Development Captains, to hear what they had to say about the successful event.
Kicked off with a pep rally from the Lionette’s, cheerleaders and drumline, the kids race started at 11:05 a.m. and Cooley and House said, “We made it movie star themed and went all out, getting a red carpet, and having multiple THON committees cheer on the kids.”
The race is “the biggest THON event besides THON weekend itself. It is also the first major event of the season, so for many organizations it is the first time they get to see their families since THON weekend,” making it a beautiful Sunday for many.
“I think the important thing about having events like the THON 5K is that it shows families two things,” said Cooley and House. “One, THON is not just a financial support system, but also an emotional support system. And two, financial aspect of THON is extremely important, but so is giving these kids the childhood that cancer tried to take away.”
The captains and volunteers took the 5K to new heights this year and enhanced the runners’ experience as they decided to “stick with the movie star theme and divide the race into six different movie themes (beach, super hero, wild west, Disney, safari and spooky) separated by a balloon arch every half-mile of the race,” which kept the runners motivated all 3.1 miles. It was an interesting sight as a man ran with no shoes on, and another brought his dog along the way!
My Hero Zero had an incredible hour-long performance to end the 5K which had the volunteers jumping and singing along to hits of the 2000s. The multi-talented band members each played at least three instruments and captivated the audience fully. Creamery ice cream, food trucks and new THON merchandise also added to the day to make it extraordinary.
When asked about their favorite part of the day, the captains stated, “The kids’ race was definitely the highlight, in my opinion. Announcing every kid’s name as he or she walked down the red carpet in front of hundreds of cheering students was awesome to watch.”
The atmosphere the THON community created at the THON 5K was moving and something truly beautiful to witness. Cooley and House describe the event as “unique, memorable and meaningful.”
“No other university has an event like this of a similar magnitude. The THON 5K and it’s meaning for the families is like no other event.”
For the kids, for the families and for the cure, VALLEY looks forward to upcoming THON events and especially THON weekend, Feb. 16-18.