The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 20, 2013

Thousands of runners and dollars

Event drew more than 4,000 runners, raised money for charities

(Continued)

The three groups this year were the local chapters of YWCA's Girls on the Run, the Back Pack Food Program and Project for Teens. Girls on the Run drew $2,065 with $418 from registrations, Back Pack Food Program raised $10,023 with $810 from registrations and Project for Teens raised $4,903 with roughly $1,900 from registrations.

Sheri Sander-Silva, council director for Girls on the Run, said her organization seeks to teach young girls ways to boost their self esteem through several programs. She said the Mankato Marathon was an excellent opportunity for staff to set a good example for the girls.

“It's a fabulous way for the girls to see community members achieving their goals. It will help encourage them to reach their own goals,” said Sander-Silva.

She said marathons have always been great tools for teaching people to set and reach goals they set for themselves in life. She said Girls on the Run itself concludes its program with a non-competitive 5K event for the girls.

Dr. Scott Stevens, who works with the Back Pack Food Program, said the Mankato Marathon is fantastic fundraising opportunity for the group and a chance to raise public awareness about the programs. He said fundraising is much more effective around unique events like a marathon because people have the runners as a specific area to focus on and root for with their donations.

“We love providing such a great program. (The Mankato Marathon) is just another great opportunity to get information out about what we can do to help the community,” said Stevens.

Screaming for support

Another addition to this year's event was the expansion of the number of cheer teams. The 17 fun and funky groups spent the race shouting encouragement for runners in outfits ranging from an '80s theme to three gorilla suits with a person in a banana suit.

Jenny Wagner, a YWCA intern who cheered with the Girls on the Run squad, said they were shouting to support the runners and help motivate them to finish the race.

"You could see how excited and happy our runners got when they saw us," said Wagner.

She said the cheer squads were a great way to watch the race. She said she plans to do a cheer squad again next year.

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