Student org puts together run aiming to assist people with disabilities


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katie

A runner during the River Run marathon at Kinnick Stadium on Sunday Apr. 29, 2018. Runners participated in a 5K beginning at Northwest Junior High School in Coralville and ending by Kinnick, where runners could get refreshments and visit the field. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Local runners laced up Sunday morning to run for individuals with physical and mental disabilities.

RiverRun, a University of Iowa student organization, organized its 39th-annual 5K race this past weekend. The race started at Northwest Junior High in Coralville and finished at Kinnick Stadium.

The race, which started in 1979, partners with Uptown Bill’s and Extend the Dream Foundation, said Julia Stenger, a co-executive director of RiverRun. It aims to raise money for people with disabilities.

Uptown Bill’s, 730 S. Dubuque St., is a coffee shop that aims to provide a place in which individuals of all abilities can come together. Extend the Dream Foundation, started in 1997 in Iowa City, sponsors a series of Uptown Bill projects, aiming to educate people about disabilities using projects as its medium.

The race started at 9:30 a.m. at Northwest Junior High, and participants started reaching the finish line at Kinnick by 9:45 a.m.

RiverRun partnered with Run Cedar Rapids and Iowa City (Run CRANDIC) to form the 5K race called RiverRun CRANDIC. The two organizations jointly used the course.

Run CRANDIC is a Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit that organized a marathon on Sunday between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. It was the inaugural race, and the finish line for both races was the same.

“The money from Run CRANDIC will go to the Iowa City community schools, and [that] from RiverRun will go to Uptown Bill’s and Extend the Dream Foundation,” Stenger said.

There were around 350 registered participants in each race, she said.

“This provides great business experience and also a chance to integrate ourselves with the community,” Stenger said.

Having events such as these is important because it’s an opportunity to function as a nonprofit, and it also provides an opportunity for community members to bond with each other, she said.

“It has been 13 years that we have supported [Uptown Bill’s],” RiverRun volunteer coordinator Miranda Nichols said.

Jordan Winkie, a native of Albia, Iowa, won the 5K race.

“I was doing cross-country in high school, so it feels good to be back out running again,” Winkie said.

It was a little windy, but the conditions were overall satisfactory, she said. Most of the course was flat, except for the hill near Carver.

“It was a fun race,” she said. “I ran the Drake Relays half marathon last weekend, so I figured this is 10 miles less, so I should be able to manage it.”

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