Planning the Children’s TLC Groundhog Run never gets old — even after 30 years
Connie Kamps – Director of Real Estate Operations
You might think planning a 10K run on the same weekend in the same location for more than 30 years would get monotonous—maybe even feel a little like “Groundhog Day.” But the truth is, every year I’ve been involved with the Groundhog Run since 1985 has offered a new challenge, a new insight or an opportunity to meet ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
And this year’s Groundhog Run is no exception, as an octogenarian named Donald Hughes will arrive laced up and ready to run, as he has every race weekend for 33 years straight. But this is no ordinary weekend for Mr. Hughes. It’s his birthday weekend, and for more than three decades he has made it a priority to participate in the Groundhog Run on his birthday. The run benefits the Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center in Kansas City, and by sharing his birthday with this effort, Mr. Hughes has helped raised $4.5 million for children with special needs and their families.
Last year was a thrill as well, as 27-year-old Children’s TLC alum McClain Johnson took part in the race. In the months leading up to the run, McClain, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, walked a total of 1,000 miles and culminated his journey at the Groundhog Run. His tremendous accomplishment prompted his employer, Cosentino’s Price Chopper, to donate $1,000 to Children’s TLC in McClain’s honor.
Starting with Hunt Midwest donating SubTropolis and thousands of employee hours to host to the Groundhog Run, the corporate community in Kansas City year after year displays a remarkable and heartwarming generosity in this effort through race sponsorships and through sponsorships of corporate running teams who participate in the Groundhog Run.
Someone once asked me how many hours I have donated to the Groundhog Run since becoming involved back in 1985. The answer is “too many to count.” But I can assure you that seeing thousands of runners united in the spirit of giving back to their communities and then seeing the money raised put to work to help the lives of the kids and families at Children’s TLC makes every single hour worthwhile.
The 2016 Children’s TLC Groundhog Run will be held on Sunday, January 24th at Hunt Midwest SubTropolis.