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Running for a Reason

Runners take part in a 5K on Thanksgiving.

Photo+courtesy+of+Mile+90+photography.+For+more+Liberty+5K+photos%2C+click+our+link+at+the+end+of+the+story+or+visit+Mile+90+Photography+and+search+the+race+category.
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Running for a Reason

Photo courtesy of Mile 90 photography. For more Liberty 5K photos, click our link at the end of the story or visit Mile 90 Photography and search the race category.

Photo courtesy of Mile 90 photography. For more Liberty 5K photos, click our link at the end of the story or visit Mile 90 Photography and search the race category.

Photo courtesy of Mile 90 photography. For more Liberty 5K photos, click our link at the end of the story or visit Mile 90 Photography and search the race category.

Photo courtesy of Mile 90 photography. For more Liberty 5K photos, click our link at the end of the story or visit Mile 90 Photography and search the race category.

Paige Twenter

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Traditions during the holiday season go together like warm butter and fresh, homemade crescent rolls. For some, one of their traditions is running for a cause early in the morning with their families.

For the past seven years, Hillcrest Hope and the Liberty Community Center have partnered up to sponsor a 5K on Thanksgiving for the entire community to take part in. On November 23, between 400-500 participants were at the starting line ready to run, walk or push strollers, all to raise money and awareness for Hillcrest’s mission to transition homeless families into self-sufficiency.

“Having a race that benefits homeless families and centered around a holiday that focuses on friends, family and what we are thankful for just seems like a natural fit,” race director Adrienne Garstang said. “This could still be a great race on any other weekend, but I feel like having it on Thanksgiving makes it even more fun and special for the participants.” If you are unable to participate this year, you can sign up for next year’s race.

This event was created in 2010 and Liberty community volunteer Adrienne Garstang took it over the following year. Since then, she has been doing everything, from securing venues and photographers to managing social media and giveaways. For her, the most impactful moments from this experience are watching the community come together for a noble purpose.

“Hillcrest Hope has been an important ministry to me and my family and it brings me a lot of satisfaction to support their organization and to see the Northland community come together to have fun and be healthy with their family,” Garstang said. “It is a great honor to work alongside Hillcrest Hope and to help provide funds and recognition to an outstanding ministry in our community.“

Among his friends and family, sophomore cross country runner Tyler Bolz is excited to run in this 5K for the first time.

“It’s going to be nice and cold so you get to bundle up and my family’s going to run with me so hopefully I don’t get beat by my cousins,” Bolz said.

Thanksgiving looks different from family to family and even from person to person, yet most can agree the holiday is about joining hands with a community and finding gratitude in each other’s company.

“It makes me thankful for all the people I get to meet, all the friends that I have and all the food that’s offered after the run,” junior Riley Brookins said. “Also, just how caring the town of Liberty is.”

For others, this event is another reason to be grateful for the opportunity to run with loved ones.

“The run connects to thankfulness because it’s going to be a family thing and so I’m just going to spend time with family, it’s just another excuse to see them,” Bolz said. “It’s just something to be thankful for, being able to run together.”

This particular 5K has a reputation for more than just current Liberty runners. This is also the race many alumni from Liberty Cross Country and Track return home for.

“A lot of the past Liberty runners will come back for it,” sophomore Ryan Mata said. “They usually get off from college so they can come back. They still do a lot of running so it’s fun for them to come back and see everyone and the coaches. It’s a lot of fun to see those guys.”

Sign up for next year’s race.

For more Liberty 5K race photos, visit Mile 90 photography

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Running for a Reason