Start the month of December right and race Rudolph and others to the finish line!
While Covenant School has been sponsoring a Christmas-season race since 2011, a two-year partnership with the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation has improved Run Run Rudolph’s visibility and raised more money.
Velma Workman, Development Outreach Coordinator for the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation, likes the idea of partnering with a local non-profit and combining efforts to expand the volunteer force behind the 5K run and walk.
The annual fundraiser for Covenant and the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital will be Saturday, December 2nd, starting from Pullman Square.
The downtown shopping-and-entertainment mecca also hosts a pancake breakfast, children’s games, and Christmas ornament decorating at the Pottery Place.
“Think how awesome it is to be able to make a donation and help two charities that are both helping children,” Workman says. “We had close to 300 participants last year, which is pretty good for early December, when everyone is extremely busy with the Christmas season.”
Although Covenant had sponsored a 5K competition for six years, in 2011 it decided to reach out to the community and create a family-friendly event with Run Run Rudolph.
Prior to that, many people weren’t aware of the small (just over 150 students) school’s existence or its location at Christ Temple Church, says Headmaster Shane Artrip.
When it just involved the school, the 5K raised funds for Covenant’s scholarship assistance program. With the advent of Run, Run Rudolph, Covenant started donating part of the proceeds to such charities as Lily’s Place and the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.
Two years ago, the school accepted an invitation to join with the Foundation to give the event broader exposure and more volunteer help. Artrip says the collaboration has brought more awareness of Covenant and lessened the demands on his staff.
“People will readily give when they see the Children’s Hospital name all over it,” Artrip says. “The hospital has contacts and does these events all the time. With their brand, more people are coming out.”
That can be seen by last December’s turnout—almost twice the number of runners who competed in the first Run Run Rudolph race.
The increase in helpers has allowed Covenant teachers to give up registration and other duties to participate alongside their students.
Last December marked the first time that former race organizer Mindy Stanley could compete, although she walked with eight of her students instead of sprinting to the finish line.
“It was really fun last year,” says Stanley, who has taught first grade throughout the school’s 22-year history. “When we started this race, another teacher and I would be writing out bibs the night before the race.
“Now I can be a cheerleader. Around Thanksgiving, I bring out a Rudolph doll that lights up and dress him up every day as a cowboy, a snowman, or with an old shirt on. The kids love it.”
Proceeds have increased along with participation. In the past, the run would generate between $8,000 and $10,000, but with Cabell Huntington’s backing last December’s run raised more than $13,500.
Sharing donations with the Children’s Hospital means Covenant nets slightly less from the run. But Artrip says the decreased demands on his staff’s time and growing community interest is a worthwhile trade-off.
“Their partnership has eased the planning burden and amplified the attraction,” the headmaster says. “The event is definitely growing. It’s transitioned with the help we have. Now the police department is helping us with blockading streets and letting runners know where to go.”
After seeing 17 of 18 first-graders participate in the most recent run, Stanley is aiming to have all her students there come Dec. 2, 2017.
“Instead of 99.9 percent, I’m going to have 100 percent,” she says with a laugh. “It’s just fun. Not having the hassle of preparation and making sure everything was perfect makes a huge difference. I didn’t have any headaches. I could just enjoy it.”
This year’s race will take place Saturday, December 2, 2017 starting from Pullman Square.
Packet pick-up will be available at the previous “Five Guys Burgers” location at Pullman Square. Sign-ups are now open for those interested in participating,
Don’t miss this wonderful family holiday experience and make it your new Christmas tradition!