AMA Fun Run 5k participants braved elements, raised money for St Jude’s

Story by Nicole Miller, Staff Writer

Ninety-two.

That’s the number of people that fought through the cold weather on Saturday to run, walk or rollerblade in The American Marketing Association’s 31st annual Fun Run 5K at Carson Park.

AMA’s Vice President of activities Karen Dahl said the “Run for a Life” themed event raised about $2,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a lot of work,” Dahl said. “Planning starts six months in advance, so this was like a second job for me.”

Senior elementary education major Danielle Gartner participated in the event and said that it was her first time running a 5k.

“It was exciting, I didn’t know if I could run a 5k,” she said. “It was a lot more fun knowing that the proceeds were going to a good cause.”

Amy Bruzda, AMA’s vice president of communications, said the event was promoted by commercials on radio stations Z100 and B95, a spot on WEAU’s morning news show, registering people at Anytime Fitness and posters.

Bruzda also said funding came through corporate sponsorship from community partners including Clear Channel, Mega Foods and Miller Brewing Company.

“The biggest expense we look towards getting coverage for was paying event permits and also paying for t-shirts for the runners and for volunteers,” she said. “Food and beverages were donated so we don’t have to worry about paying for that. All of the permits and licenses add up to over $1,000.”

Participants were invited to attend the post-race celebration, where hot dogs, brats, soda, chips and fresh fruit were freely available. Beer was also provided for free in a tent to those 21 years of age or older.

Local band Big Back Yard was expected to perform but cancelled due to the cold weather.

“That was a disappointment,” Dahl said. “The band was one of our largest promotional tools.”

In place of the band, Z100 provided music and entertainment until 4 p.m.

“The afterparty was fun,” Gartner said. “Everyone was having a good time.”

Despite the cold weather, Bruzda said attendance was up from last year’s 60 participants.

“It was a good improvement from last year,” Bruzda said. “We were expecting 125 runners but the weather was raining and cold so we didn’t get as many people as expected.”

Eau Claire’s Parks and Recreation department advised the group to cancel the event, Bruzda said. However, they chose to go forward as planned, moving the post-race bash site from the grass area to a concrete, paved area.

“The cold made us realize we were here for a good cause and we’re all going to withstand this cold together,” she said. “The weather couldn’t bring us down. Everyone was cold and shivering together.”