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Candlelighters Superhero 5K keeps growing in 27th year

When Mark Grenier started a 5K as a fundraiser following his father’s prostate cancer diagnosis, he was able to get 75 people to come out and raise $1,000.

Twenty-seven years later, those goals are much higher.

This year the race, which has turned into the Candlelighters Superhero 5K with Chet Buchanan, is hoping to get 1,200 racers to compete Saturday at Mountain’s Edge Exploration Park.

Then event, which starts Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, has grown nearly every year since its inception, and added its superhero theme three years ago.

”We needed something to amp it up a little bit, make it more exciting,” Candlelighters Special Events Coordinator Jordan Nelson said. “We wanted to see how we could spice it up.”

The race has expanded from a 5K race to a 5K walk and 1-mile run, with pre-registration at $45 and $50 the day of the event.

To further promote its cause, Candlelighters selected three “Super Ambassadors” for the event, children’s whose lives have been touched by cancer. This year the organization picked Lucas Ahlbach, who lost his battle when he was 10-years old; 13-year-old Kaila Elder, who has a form of soft tissue sarcoma; and 3-year-old Benji Sanchez, who has a form of brain cancer.

“They’re all heroes in one way or another. That was a big part in forming the (superhero) theme,” Nelson said. “Our biggest marketing tagline is ‘be a child’s superhero.’ ”

In addition to the race, there’ll also be a bone marrow drive on site as well as three bounce houses, games for kids and stage entertainment. The event also will feature 33 vendors and the Las Vegas Metro honor guard.

”It’s just been growing and getting bigger and better every year,” Nelson said, adding there are more registrations so far than there were last year at this point.

Dash for Donors

Another race for a cause will take place this weekend. Dash for Donors 5K is set for Saturday morning at Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas.

The event, which seeks to raise awareness about the importance of becoming an organ and tissue donor, costs $40 for adults and $30 for children 12-years-old and younger.

Recreation notebook appears Wednesdays. Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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