Over 600 participants, many from USC, make this year’s race most successful in five-year history
On a sunny morning in January, and what some might consider a perfect day for running, Blue Cross Blue Shield presented the annual Red Nose Run race Saturday morning, in partnership with Colonial Life Arena and Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
In its fifth annual event, the Red Nose Run 10K and 5K charity race supports the Columbia Ronald McDonald House. All proceeds from the race help run the Ronald McDonald House on Colonial Drive and the Ronald McDonald family room in the Palmetto Health Richland Children’s Hospital.
“[The money] helps to make sure that we can still supply three meals a day, we can have 24-hour transportation and we can have all the necessities that make it easier for the families who are staying with us so they don’t have to worry about anything,” said Ronald McDonald House special events coordinator Alex Nicyper.
The Ronald McDonald House supports families within the Columbia area with kids under the age of 21 who are receiving medical treatment. The house has eight bedrooms that it provides for families for as long as they need to stay.
“We have some families who stay just a couple nights, and we’ve had a family that has stayed with us over 211 nights,” said Nicyper.
The Red Nose Run brought in 590 preregistered runners, and an additional 70 runners came out the morning of, bringing in an estimated $25,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia, S.C.
“I think it’s really cool that the community came together to support the Ronald McDonald House,” said second-year public relations student Lena Smith. “All ages came out, and it was really cool to see.”
This year’s participants included a five-year-old boy who ran with his parents in the 5K event. His parents had used the Ronald McDonald House when he was born. The oldest runner was 86-years-old and raced in the 10K event.
Prior races brought sleeting rain and freezing temperatures. The ideal weather made for a very successful event shown by the increased number of runners.
“We always have a great turnout, and we always have a lot of people who register, but obviously the weather has a big factor on who comes out the day of,” said Nicyper. “This was absolutely the most successful year we’ve had.”
The Red Nose Run hopes to bring in around 1,000 participants next year.
Many USC students made the early morning rise to come out and support the Ronald McDonald House. Reagan Kiser, a first-year elementary education student, raced in the 10K event with her dad. As a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Kiser was happy to be supporting her national philanthropy.
“When we pay the fee to be in the run we know exactly what it’s going to because it’s something that we’ve participated in,” Kiser said.
The USC women’s volleyball team, USC’s fishing club and some student council members came out to support the charity by racing and volunteering for the event.
“We love having USC involved with us. They help us throughout the year all the time,” said Nicyper. “USC is wonderful when it comes to volunteers.”