Clad in all kinds of warrior garb, runners made their way to Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah. Costumes ranged from traditional viking gear to “Rosie the Riveter” but participants were all there for one reason: the Warrior Dash, a 5K run to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Participants were encouraged to dress up for the 5K obstacle series, which featured 12 challenges. At the race’s check-in, all “warriors” received fuzzy Viking helmets to carry with them throughout their journey.
“It’s meant to be the craziest frickin’ day of your life,” said Sarah McGrath, a race director. “Once they’re done, they’re covered head to toe in mud with their Warrior Dash fuzzy helmet, and then have a turkey leg, beer and enjoy the festival atmosphere.”
At registration, warriors were given the option to be a “St. Jude Warrior.” Those who raised $250 had access to the St. Jude VIP tent, which included showers, free food and drinks.
“We were helping people, providing them with towels and answering their questions,” said junior Abby Salem, who volunteered in the VIP tent. “They had their own bathrooms and showers, which were cleaner than the other ones and didn’t have lines.”
Themed runs have become a popular way to raise money. This year’s Warrior Dash raised more than $4 million for the hospital.
The Color Run, a national race that benefits different regional charities, covers runners in colored powder as they pass through various stations.
Last month, Miami’s Color Run benefitted the J.A.M. Foundation, an organization that works toward open communication about teen suicide.
“I think the money goes to a good cause, and it’s really fun to go with friends,” said sophomore Kathy Lee, who ran in the race. “Color Run is not a normal 5K. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Sophomore Phillip Chan said he thinks charity runs are a fun way to get people out to raise money.
“It allows people to stay healthy and exercise, while providing for a greater cause in the community,” Chan said. “I would love to participate in one in the future.”
Some people, like senior Joshua Lonthair, have even made a hobby out of these races.
“I do 5Ks in general because it’s a good way to get out and have fun with a group of people, and it keeps me active,” Lonthair said. “If you train like I do, you have a goal in mind, and it makes you feel good when you reach your goal … It’s uplifting for me.”