The second annual Kansas City Northland Heroes for Hope Half Marathon and 5K is unique in several ways, but one of the most significant involves its four charities that help vulnerable and neglected children.
Founded in 2015, Heroes for Hope is the first organized half marathon held in the Northland. Sponsored by Liberty Hospital with support from Sam’s Club, TheraSport and Chick-fil-A, the 13.1-mile and 5K routes feature beautiful parkways and a fun theme. Participants of all ages are urged to wear hero costumes, including those in the free Kid Hero Dash.
What really makes the event stand out are its four designated charities. Each of the four targets making life better for young people in the Northland, in Greater Kansas City and even in Africa: the Early Childhood Special Education Center, the Kansas City Police Athletic League, Feed Northland Kids and All God’s Children.
“A lot of races have charities, but we thought the need for children’s causes was so strong and it fits our priorities,” explained 2016 Race Director Craig Williams of Liberty. “It just seemed like a natural choice.”
Williams credits founders Rachel and Gary Chaney with originating the idea. Formerly from Kearney, the couple and their two children are currently in Zambia, Africa, working on one of the four causes, All God’s Children. Williams was part of the original team that broadened the scope to include the Early Childhood Special Education Center, the Kansas City Police Athletic League and Feed Northland Kids.
“We saw all of these organizations doing good work for children but not getting a lot of attention,” Williams recalled. “It just seemed like a good fit.”
Then there’s the idea that, while Greater Kansas City has a number of premier running events, few if any have been held in the growing Northland. Williams hopes to eventually grow Heroes for Hope into a full marathon.
“We’ve got great running up here,” he concluded. “People need to see that.”
Heroes for Hope will start and finish at Sam’s Club, 8130 N. Church Rd., Kansas City, 64158. The half marathon begins at 7 a.m. and the 5K at 7:30 a.m. For more information, visit www.heroesforhopekc.com.