Thursday, April 18, 2024

Fowl Play 5K returns to kick off Thanksgiving with a run for a cause

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LEAVENWORTH - Leavenworth's Fowl Play 5K race is back to kick off the holiday season with another run this Thanksgiving Day.

The event will raise funds for the Cascade High School tennis and cross country teams.

Fowl Play 5K organizer Marcia Smith started the annual run in 2014 as a fundraiser for the Cascade High School tennis team.

Through the years, the race has grown from about 50 participants the first year to around 250 runners and walkers.

When Smith first started the 5K, she didn't know if it would take off and is surprised to still be doing it nine years later.

"I didn't expect to be doing it 10 years later," she said. "Every year I always say, oh gosh, I said to my husband, 'Okay, I don't know if we're gonna do this again.’ And he's like, ‘No, we're doing it again. Because everybody's so happy.' Just the happiest crowd ever, and he just gets energy off of everybody else's happy energy."

The event has funded a lot for the CHS tennis team, like bleachers and benches for the courts, provided a stipend to coaches so they can coach summer lessons, and other supplies for the team. Plus, they have been able to put money into their fundraising ASB account and now have a healthy account, Smith said.

They have even been able to donate to other area nonprofits like Upper Valley MEND, the Community Cupboard, and to help other youth sports.

Smith's family and supporters of the tennis team help make the event happen every year. But after this year, she is handing the organizing baton over to the CHS cross country team.

"I know cross country does a lot of traveling in the fall to go to meets kind of all over the state," Smith said. "And so that gets pretty spendy, and you know, if they can help, maybe offset some costs for the kids because they have a huge cross country team as well."

The race starts and ends at the Front Street Park gazebo. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the race, or participants can pre-register on Eventbrite. The run starts at 9 a.m.

"We start at the gazebo, and we run down toward Dan's Food Market, and we go in front of the Community Cupboard, and then they come all the way back up into town," Smith said. "Weather permitting, they will run down into the park right by Posy. They'll head down there and run through the park and come out at Enchantment Park, and then they still have to do a little loop, and then they run back to the gazebo."

Participants can run or walk the course. Children, strollers, and well-behaved dogs, especially dogs in costume, are welcome.

Smith hopes the weather will cooperate but said that no matter the weather, everyone seems happy to be there and to have a lot of fun.

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media

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