Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the Superhero 5K, one of the biggest fundraisers for the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Nevada, which helps children and their families who are battling cancer.
Early-risers can still join this morning’s race and companion activities at Exploration Park at Mountain’s Edge in the southwest Las Vegas Valley.
The event has grown from 75 people raising $1,000 in 1990 to between 1,000 and 2,000 annual participants and several million dollars raised in three decades.
Festivities now include costumes, a Kids Zone, community partner booths, opening ceremonies, warm-up by TruFusion, awards ceremony for timed runners, music, a beer garden hosted by Ellis Island, food from local vendors, water from iDrink and raffle prizes.
The seed for the race was planted in 1984 when local baseball executive Mark Grenier’s father died at age 51 from prostate cancer. Grenier and his siblings agreed to do something to support those battling cancer to commemorate their dad. A few years later, Grenier was working for the Las Vegas Stars (now Aviators), and a chance meeting led him to 9-year-old Jared, who was recovering from brain surgery caused by cancer. Grenier brought players and the team mascot to Jared’s baseball game, where the pair struck an immediate friendship, remaining close until Jared died a year later.
Grenier had been running marathons and subsequently organized the benefit run to support Candlelighters, which had helped Jared and his family and to honor his father.
The race is still dear to Grenier, and he has served as its chairman since.
Candlelighters has supported thousands of kids with cancer and their families over the years and is helping 125 families each month and as many as 1,000 children (diagnosed child and sibling combined) per year.
The money raised contributes to critically needed financial aid for medical and prescription co-pays, mortgage and rent, utilities, local transportation and travel for treatment, scholarships and funerals, counseling and other programs to lift the spirits of patients and family members.
This morning, Superhero 5K registration is 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.; the race starts at 8 a.m.; and festivities continue until 11 a.m.
After the event, guests are invited to stay and enjoy the 80-acre Exploration Park with its Western Theme Village, water play area, picnic areas, amphitheater, playgrounds and the 2,846-foot-tall Exploration Peak for hiking and panoramic views.
Exploration Park is just south of the main entrance of Mountain’s Edge at 9700 S. Buffalo Drive. For new home and community information, call 702-898-5777 or visit www.mountainsedge.com.