Run for the Hills set for Saturday

Cris Ritchie — Editor

September 30, 2013

The third annual Run for the Hills Charity Challenge will remain underway through the end of the month to benefit 15 local non-profit organizations, and this week organizers are busy preparing for the accompanying 5K run in Hazard.

The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky’s charity challenge began in August and presents an opportunity for people to support 15 charities working in Perry County, such as Community Ministries, which operates the homeless shelter in Hazard. These non-profits are working to raise money through Oct. 31 to aid in their daily operations, with the promise of a match from the community foundation of up to $10,000 for a permanent endowment fund.

“It all creates a sense of community,” said Gerry Roll, the foundation’s executive director. “We’re working together to raise money for our local non-profits because they need the money now, but they also want to save so that we have them in the future.”

Several local businesses and organizations have also chipped in this year, such as Hazard Clinic, the Cameron Hoskins Foundation, and the Perry County senior center, by hosting fundraisers in the past few weeks.

As of last week, the charity challenge had raised about $100,000, noted Robin Gabbard, the foundation’s associate executive director. She said she expects a similar output as last year’s effort, which raised approximately $200,000 in total, and another positive is that this year’s challenge is also garnering new attention.

“The interesting thing is we have quite a bit of new donors this year, new people who have registered for the race and new people who are making contributions,” Gabbard said.

A highlight of the challenge is the annual 5K race, which this year is scheduled for Saturday at Triangle Park in Hazard. As of last week, approximately 130 people had registered to participate, and Gabbard said she expects over 200 people will have registered by the time the race begins.

Anyone wishing to participate in Saturday’s Run for the Hills can resister online at www.appalachianky.org/run4hills, or on the day of the race beginning at 8 a.m. on Oct. 5. Registration is $25 per person, all of which will remain in the local community. Registration and packet pick-up will also be available on Friday at Treehouse Café on Main Street in Hazard from 5-7 p.m.

The race is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

Roll added the challenge is an opportunity for local residents to donate their money and keep it in the local community. And with an economy continuing to sag, she hopes that prospect of supporting organizations that in turn support their communities will encourage people to participate.

“Even though the economy is down, and we have miners that are getting laid off and it’s just so tragic, these are the groups that are actually able to help a lot of those folks, and help our community,” Roll said. “So people might be digging a little deeper because we’re taking care of ourselves.”