When Gail Wagner got the idea for Meaghan's 5K, she was warned that there were already too many charity races and that she could end up losing money. She went ahead anyway. The first year, the 800 runners and walkers who showed up helped raise almost $60,000 [source: Wagner].
The next year, the early April race was plagued by horrendous weather, with strong winds and driving sleet. Still, 1,240 total participants attended and the event raised more than $60,000 for the cause. Scott Bagley, 45, from Pittsford, N.Y., won the men's division with a time of 18:53. Sarah Nazarian-Elliot, 37, of Fairport N.Y., was the women's winner, finishing at 19:12 [source: Meaghan's Hope]
In 2010, organizers moved the race to June in order to avoid a repeat of the bitter weather. The date put the event into competition with many more family and sports activities. The number of participants dropped to 661. Of those, 350 were runners, the rest walkers. Even with the lower turnout, the race raised about $35,000 000 [source: Wagner].
Wagner's 29-year-old son, Garrett, won the 2010 men's race in 16:10. The women's division went to Vanessa Taylor, 23, of Spencerport, N.Y., who ran 21:53 [source: Meaghan's Hope]. The times for Meaghan's 5K are calculated electronically by PCR Timing, enabling organizers to give accurate times to all runners.
The entry fee for the race is $20 in advance, $25 on race day and $15 for students. The fee covers T-shirts for the first 500 entrants. Most of the money raised comes from the contributors recruited by participants, as well as from corporate sponsors. Twenty-six members of Latone's extended family took part in the 2010 race, including her husband, Mike, and two children, Mia, 10, and Michael, 8. [source: Barry].
In her newspaper essay, Latone wrote, "My whole life is ahead of me." Her father Bill Barry has helped to organize and publicize the race. He sees the event as a tribute to his daughter's determination and hopefulness. The organization that has grown up around the race, called Meaghan's Hope, continues to refine its fundraising efforts and sponsor's other events, all for the sake of helping future victims of lung cancer.
Read on to find out more about running different 5K races.