And fortunately, it’s for the good.
Tragedy in a distant city has brought together 26 members of the Cleveland and Bradley County running community who have organized the Run Now Relay in support of the victims — and two respected nonprofits — from the terrorist bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon.
Their goal is to raise $50,000 for their chosen cause and to heighten public awareness.
Over an eight-day period, the team will literally run a relay from Cleveland to Boston. Their route will take them to countless big cities where fundraising and awareness will fall right in step with their pace toward Beantown. They are scheduled to arrive the day before this year’s marathon.
Speaking of keeping in step, the kids at Hopewell recently did their part by collecting loose change for the Run Now Relay cause; and, they’re revolving it around a physical fitness plan that will keep them in motion as they follow the daily route of the Cleveland-based runners.
The kids did the fundraising during “Hope Well Week” and now they’ll follow with some activities geared around exercise as Run Now Relay kicks into high gear.
Robin McChesney, a physical education teacher at Hopewell, said it perfectly in the March 12 edition of our newspaper. In a front-page article by staff writer Christy Armstrong, who covers Bradley County Schools, McChesney spoke of the community initiative and its impact on our children.
“We (colleagues) thought, ‘What a wonderful way to support what those adults in the community are doing,’” she explained. “When you can take the children and connect them to the community, that’s a good thing.”
In this case, adults have organized the run and they have identified the civic causes. Now they’re deep into the fundraising whose proceeds will be split between Dream Big and the One Step Ahead Foundation.
For those unfamiliar with these Boston initiatives, Dream Big helps girls who are homeless or living in low-income households to receive sports equipment and opportunities to play. The One Step Ahead Foundation helps boys and girls with physical disabilities take part in activities that range from downhill skiing to swimming to help them gain confidence in their personal abilities.
At last report, the kids at Hopewell had raised more than $500 for Run Now Relay. The amount was expected to grow. Every penny and each nickel and dime will go toward the causes. That’s because the runners themselves are putting up their own money to pay for travel and expenses; and several area businesses have stepped up to serve as sponsors to help defray costs.
Once the relay kicks off April 12, the Hopewell youngsters will join in the fun — granted, from several miles away — by enjoying some themes associated with the relayers’ locations. For instance, when the runners approach Knoxville, the Hopewell kids will delve into physical activities related to football in honor of the UT Vols; and when the runners hit Bristol, their tinier counterparts will frolick in a speedy race of their own in honor of the Bristol Motor Speedway. Other cities, and additional themes, will follow suit.
The mutual spirit between school and cause is inspiring.
Said Hopewell’s McChesney, “We are proud of our community.”
Said Run Now Relay co-organizer Matt Ryerson, “There’s nothing more exciting than to see children serving other people.”
We agree ... with both.
The kids at Hopewell, as well as any number of other area schools who might be involved in similar undertakings, are to be admired.
The adults who have given of their time meticulously planning the relay, and investing their own funds and talents, are to be credited as well.
Those within the running community with big hearts who have given Run Now Relay a face and voice are splendid role models.
Those young students at Hopewell who are following in their footsteps are doing exactly what proud parents hope of their children; they are learning from the good and they are emulating these noble actions.
Thank you, Run Now Relay.
Thank you, Hopewell teachers and students.
Others are involved in uplifting deeds surrounding Run Now Relay and additional community causes. We hope to tell their stories in the days and weeks ahead.
Until then, we encourage continued support of Run Now Relay.
And we urge others to take note of what’s going on at Hopewell Elementary.