(SNR) DONIPHAN - When the Altar Society of St. Ann Church in Doniphan met to discuss fundraising plans, a new idea was brought up. Christine Quist and Trisha VanViest suggested the group host a 5k run/walk instead of their traditional Palm Sunday dinner.
"People enjoy getting out," Mrs. Quist said. "We thought this would be a fun thing to try.
And so, the Saint Ann’s "Divine Dash" was created.
Runners and walkers will gather at Saint Ann Church in Doniphan, 202 N. 5th Street, at 9 a.m. April 28 for the inaugural event. Though the run/walk is not timed, there will be prizes for the first male and female finishers.
"We’re really hoping this run/walk would appeal to the younger Catholic crowd and also the older members," said Mrs. Quist.
She said that she and Mrs. VanViest have run in a few similar events, but they are fairly casual about this sport.
"I don’t know if I would call either of us avid runners," she laughed.
The ladies of the Altar Society worked together to make the Divine Dash fun and family-friendly.
"We really want this to be a family event, because that’s what the Church is all about," Mrs. Quist explained.
So, she planned a route that’s simple and fairly flat so that people of all fitness levels can participate. It’s going to be very clearly marked to avoid confusion, and every intersection will have a volunteer posted to help warn drivers of oncoming runners and vice versa.
On-site childcare will be available in exchange for a free-will donation for parents with little ones. There’s also a family entry fee with no restrictions on which family members qualify.
"If you’ve got five sisters who want to run, that’s a family," Mrs. Quist said. "I’ve got one family that’s a grandma, her two kids, her sister and a grandchild."
Runners and walkers who signed up before the April 3 deadline were able to order an event t-shirt, but all participants will get a goody bag that the Altar Society has put together. Among the gifts inside will be a collapsible water bottle.
There will also be a raffle on the day of the event. Tickets can be purchased for a dollar each, and the winner will receive a beautiful cross-stitched quilt made by members of the Altar Society.
Mrs. Quist said they are pleased with how many participants have signed up.
"We talked to a couple different organizations that have done runs like this…They said if you’ve got 50 runners your first year, you’re doing good."
As of Good Friday, the number stood at 88. She’s hoping that more people will join in the fun, from all around the area, other parishes and even non-Catholic churches for an opportunity for fun, fitness and fellowship.
It’s going to be quite a bit different than the Altar Society’s traditional Palm Sunday fundraiser supper with ham and potatoes and decadent desserts, but Mrs. Quist feels that it’s the right time to try something new.
"I like the way Father [Andrew] Kurz put it," she said. "We’re going to be burning the calories instead of consuming the calories."
Tickets are only $20 per person and $50 per family, and a registration form and the course map are available online at www.doniphancommunityclub.com. Walk-in registrations accepted the day of the run/walk. Proceeds from the event will be used by the Altar Society for their work within the parish.