BY GREG SIERING
Unlike most races, where the winner is the person who crosses the finish line first, the winners of the annual Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5K are the participants who band together to run and walk to celebrate survival over cancer, to honor the memory of a loved one who lost the fight, or to encourage those just beginning their battle.
The Bloomington Health Foundation tradition has raised more than $3 million over the past 18 years. Jon Barada, president and CEO of the foundation, says the funds raised by entry fees and donations provide support beyond clinical treatment, paying for things like massage, art therapy, prosthetics, wigs, family support groups, transportation costs, prevention and education programs, and other services that help patients and their families deal with cancer treatment in more holistic ways. All of the money raised stays in the local community.
Approximately 5,000 runners and walkers participate each year. Many have personal connections to the event and its cause. Local attorney Erin Martoglio, 43, is a runner and an event sponsor. She started running in middle school. Soon after, at the age of 12, she lost her mother to cancer. She says Hoosiers Outrun Cancer is the perfect way for her to give back to Bloomington. It allows her to participate in a sport she loves, run in honor of her mother, and help fund the kinds of programs that would have been important to her as a child.
The event, on September 29, is welcoming to everyone, whether they are participating in the 5K run/walk, the 1-mile Family Fun Walk, or the 1-mile Kids’ Run, Martoglio says. And, she points out, the course is lined with crowds cheering on runners and walkers. “You’ll have fans the whole way,” she says.
The run starts at Indiana University Memorial Stadium and is followed with tailgating, music, food trucks, and more in the stadium parking lots. Barada says the entire day makes for an exciting family and community event for participants and fans alike.
For more information about volunteering, donating, or participating, visit hoosiersoutruncancer.org.