The Daily Gamecock

Columbia community runs for charity

Red Nose 5k, 10k raise more than $12K for Ronald McDonald House

More than 600 adults, children and dogs gathered at the Colonial Life Arena early Saturday morning, donning bold numbers and the optional red nose, to run the 6th Annual Red Nose Run.

BlueCross BlueShield of S.C., Feld Entertainment, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, and Strictly Running sponsor the popular Columbia event, which raises more than $12,000 annually for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia, S.C. Emceed by WIS broadcaster Joe Pinner, the race featured a 10k race at 8 a.m. and a 5k race at 8:15 a.m.

Members of the USC chapter of Alpha Delta Pi and the women's volleyball team were part of the over 40 volunteers Saturday.

Alex Nicyper, Special Events Coordinator for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia, SC, expressed her thanks to the many University of South Carolina volunteers.

"Columbia is a big running community and this is a great way to promote fitness while helping a worthy cause," Nicyper said.

Michele Jackson, who ran the 10k race, was excited about her first year at the Red Nose Run. She said she's run for many charities before, however, including the Ray Tanner Home Run, Heart & Sole, Get in the Pink and many others in the area. She prepared for these events by taking elliptical and spin classes as well as running. Jackson gets her running information through her place of work.

"I work at BlueCross, and they have a runner's club there," Jackson said. "We get a schedule and pay a fee at the beginning of the year, and they pay all of your entry fees."

Roger Hammond and his Chihuahua, Sweet Pea, ran the 5k in the Red Nose Run for the third time. They run in at least four events a year, including the Race Against Hunger and the Ray Tanner Home Run. Hammond walks twice a day every day, and Sweet Pea joins him on Saturdays for a 12-mile walk. Hammond said Sweet Pea has become quite popular around Columbia.

"She gets a lot of attention," he said. "Everybody likes to hold her. Ray Tanner, Mayor Benjamin and Joe Pinner have all held her."

At press time, unofficial results had been posted on Strictly Running's website. In the 10k, Michael Lantz, 16, of Columbia, SC, came in first with a time of 34 minutes and 29 seconds. Amy McDonaugh, 35, of Irmo, SC, had the best female time in the 10k with 39 minutes and 42 seconds. In the 5k, Joel Hanlon, 26, of Columbia, SC, won first place with a time of 17 minutes and 26 seconds. Qu-Essence Gillison, 15, of North, SC, had the best female time with 21 minutes and 25 seconds.

Runners were able to enjoy free food, drinks, massages from the Southeastern School of Neuromuscular Massage and medical screenings before and after the race.