Costumed 5K to benefit Special Connections in Morris

Runners will be encouraged to dress up for the 9th annual Run The Beat 5K at Goold Park in Morris on Oct. 19 at 10 a.m., sponsored by The Morris Police Department.

The cost is $25 to participate in the run and registration will be available at Goold Park starting at 8 a.m. All proceeds will be donated to Special Connections of Grundy County, which works to provide activities and social development for people in Grundy County with special needs.

Special Connections Executive Director Kelly Thompson said the organization relies entirely on private donations and fundraisers.

“This event is huge for us, the police department has been with us since we existed in 2010. They’ve been so supportive of our organization and they help however they can,” Thompson said.

Morris Police officer Jessica Smith said Run The Beat has been a part of Morris for more than 20 years. It originally benefited Special Olympics, but when Special Connections came to Morris in 2010, the department decided to help support the local organization.

“This is a fun costume run and one of the longest-running fun runs. This is a way for the police department to give back. Part of our job is outreach to the community, not just as police officers, but as members of the community,” Smith said at the 2018 race.

Once participants finish the race, they will be treated to free food and music at Goold Park. Event organizer Run 4 Morris will be distributing shirts and jackets to qualifying finishers, and will hold a raffle for a Garmin ForeRunner 235 and for five $50 Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry gift cards.

In order to qualify for the jacket giveaway, participants must have participated in the Liberty 5K, and must have participated in three other Run 4 Morris races. These include the Superhero 5K or half marathon, the AnyBODY 5K, Cornfest 5K or the Run The Beat 5K.

The race will be flat and paved with the exception of the last half mile, which will be downhill. Awards will be presented to the first place male and female participants and medals will be presented to the top three finishers in each age/sex category.

Limited parking is available at Goold Park, with excess traffic being advised to park at Morris Community High School across the street.

Event organizers encourage participants to dress warmly. The temperature on Saturday is projected to be 64 degrees.