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First Kinnick 5K sees large participation

BY AARON WALKER | SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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The first-ever race to finish on Kinnick Field took place this past weekend. 

Kickoff 2 Kinnick 5K had 2,127 participants signed up for the event to help raise money for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and the Tim Dwight Foundation.

However, only 1,897 people officially finished the race with an average time of 35:24.

Runners began at the intersection of Hawkins and Elliott Drives at 9 a.m. Sept. 20. Soon after, they became the first local runners to finish a race on the field at Kinnick Stadium.

Mitch Beckert, a UI second-year medical student and former undergraduate tennis player, organized the race. 

The board of directors for the event also consisted of UI medical students.

“[We are] hoping and expecting to have raised over $60,000 in our first year,” Beckert said.  “We’re pretty excited about it.”

The organizers also hosted a tailgate in Kinnick’s parking lot with live music, free food, and vendor tents. The racers, their families, and friends congregated in the parking lot to eat and watch the Iowa/Pitt football game.

“We had a free post-race tailgate [of] hot dogs and bananas,” Beckert said.

A number of other companies sponsored the event, such as the Bread Garden, Java House, Hy-Vee, and Yotopia.

The Tim Dwight Foundation has raised more than $150,000 to benefit the Children’s Hospital. It also provides scholarships and hosts a summer football camp for Iowa youths.

“Health goes across a lot of different spectrums,” said Dwight, a former Hawkeye and NFL football player from Iowa City.  “Not just trying to fix some kid that’s sick.”

With 75 percent of the money from his foundation going to research, the remaining 25 percent goes to benefit patients’ experiences.

“We’re trying to bring value to the kids who are in the hospital for weeks, days, or months,” Dwight said.

Dwight said the proceeds from his foundation also go toward studies related to brain-stem cancer.

Dwight ran alongside people of all ages, including former Hawkeye Nick Holmes.

Holmes, an employee at Running Wild, one of the event’s sponsors, won the race in a time of 15:01.
Holmes ran track and cross-country for the university from 2008 to 2012. 

“This is a spectacular event,” he said. “[It has] a lot of people [and is] a good cause. It’s definitely a thing you have to do. Plus you get the chance to finish on Kinnick.”

As the race concluded, the field was energized by all of the runners.

 “It’s a great opportunity for fundraising,” race announcer Mike Pettis said. “They’re two great organizations that do a lot of great work here in the Iowa City area.”


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