Run Lucky 5K to raise funds for cancer research 

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For some, a reward is needed to accomplish a goal. Like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. For others, beer is the greatest motivator. Or is that fear? Regardless, the luck of the Irish might be enough to sustain participants of the fifth annual Run Lucky 5K and Mission Mile Fun Run on March 15.

It might also help that there is beer waiting to be consumed at the end of the run. And not just any beer. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, green beer will be handed out at the finish line at Classen Curve, 5825 NW Grand Blvd. Hot chocolate is available for those who do not drink alcohol.

The success of the Run Lucky 5K and Mission Mile Fun Run may be attributed to luck, the beer or just good old-fashioned diligence.

“We are very proud of the fact that we’ve raised $192,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in our first four years,” said Jennifer Willis, the race’s sponsorship and marketing chair. “The funds raised do stay here in Oklahoma.”

In four years, the event has become one of the biggest 5K races in the state. Last year’s race drew nearly 2,100 registered participants in cold and windy weather. This year, organizers are seeking 2,200 registrants and hope to raise $50,000.

The event is organized by Friends of LLS (FLLS), a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting the LLS’s mission of blood cancer research.

Willis joined FLLS nine years ago through a church acquaintance. Most group members had loved ones who had battled cancer, but Willis’ family had not been affected. She did it simply to help others.

“This is a passion,” said Willis, who is also a marketing coordinator for a Norman-based architect firm.

Last year, that passion got more personal as Willis’ grandfather was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), a type of bone marrow cancer that mainly affects the elderly.

“It’s made this event and this cause even more important to me,” she said.

Classen Curve merchants also come together for the awards ceremony and after-party, complete with a DJ and dancing. If you like leprechauns, the costume contest is a big hit, with prizes in adult and child categories.

Many younger and new runners participate in the Mission Mile Fun Run. This race also puts a face to the proceedings as posters, signs and banners line the course honoring those who have fought cancer.

Race-day registration begins at noon, and the Fun Run starts at 1:30 p.m. The 5K begins at 2 p.m., and the awards ceremony and after-party begins at 3 p.m.

Early online registration is $30 through noon on March 12. Late registration is $40, and you can register online or at Red Coyote Running and Fitness, 5720 N. Classen Blvd. The first 2,000 registrants will receive a dri-fit event shirt. Mission Mile finishers receive a commemorative dog tag, and 5K finishers receive a medal.

If you’re not up to running or can’t be there, the Snooze Lucky option is for you. You still get a race shirt and the satisfaction of supporting the cause.

“They say we’ll see a cure within 15 to 20 years, so we will see a cure in our lifetime,” Willis said. “Why wouldn’t you want to be involved with this?”

Team registration is new this year. Awards will be given to the largest team and the team that raises the most money. Teams that raise more than $500 will have a tent near the starting line at NW 59th Street and N. Classen Boulevard.

For more information, visit runlucky.com.

Print headline: Sláinte!, The Fifth Annual Run Lucky 5K and Mission Mile Fun Run raises money for blood cancer research.

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Brendan Hoover

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