Run raises awareness for child abuse prevention month

Published 3:21 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Downtown Greenville was bustling with the pitter-patter of running shoes beating to the rhythm of an altogether different drum Saturday as Healthy Kids held its first ever 5k/10k run.

More than 130 runners of all ages from throughout the county, as well as some out-of-state athletes and some from neighboring counties came to the Camellia City to participate.  Runners from 10 years of age to 70 and up were placed into masters, grandmasters and senior grandmasters divisions, in which the top three male and female performers in each category received top honors.

The event was much more than general exercise for Greenville’s fittest residents, though, as there were several diversions on hand for an audience just as diverse as the runners comprising the race.  Moon bounces, face paintings, live music, Disney mascots and more were on hand to entertain children and adults alike. Runners were even treated to massages following the race.

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Susan Nimmer, event coordinator for the Healthy Kids 5k/10k run, said that despite the fun and games, the event was a means of bringing a very real issue facing the Greenville community and several others to light.

“We just wanted to raise awareness in the community about Child Abuse and neglect Prevention Month,” Nimmer said. “And so we wanted to bring everybody together so that we could make Greenville a better community for our families.”

The decision to engage participants of all ages was a conscious one, according to Nimmer. Because the problem facing the community is one that affects it as a whole, it is only appropriate that the community attempt to address it as a whole.

“We tried to involve all the area schools,” Nimmer said. “One of the high school students in Georgiana designed the T-shirts, and we had high school and middle school students performing out here.  So we really wanted to get them involved because they’re going to be parents one day. So it’s important that everyone’s involved in this effort.”

For Nimmer, taking the celebration to Confederate Park and building upon older ideas is just the first step in developing the event into an annual affair that children and adults will remember for years to come.

“This is the first time that we’ve done Celebrating Kids Day in the park,” Nimmer said. “Next year we’re hoping it will be even bigger and better.”