BOONE, N.C. — Don’t be surprised to see superheroes running down a street near you during the next two weeks. Appalachian State University’s third annual AppKIDS Superhero Run, Walk or Fly 5K event is still scheduled — but will take on a different format due to COVID-19.
Beginning Saturday, March 28, participants will run the race on their own, wherever they are — outdoors while practicing physical or social distancing, or indoors on their own treadmills — and self-report their clocked time via the event’s online reporting form.
Participants, who have until April 11 to complete the race, are invited to post photos and share reports about their experiences via Appalachian’s social media platforms by using the hashtags #AppKIDSsuperhero5k, #runwalkfly, #beasuperhero and #AppKIDS5K. Traditionally, participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero, and this year is no exception.
All of the proceeds from this event support the Appalachian Kindness in Donations and Service (AppKIDS) program to provide clothing, food and hygiene resources to Watauga County children in need. This program, organized by an Appalachian Staff Senate committee, is now in its 40th year.
The annual donation goal of $17,500 funds shopping trips for 100 children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Appalachian faculty and staff volunteer their time to mentor and guide these children during the AppKIDS shopping event each November.
In its first two years, the 5K event drew approximately 100 participants and raised $3,000–$4,000 each year toward the program’s goal through sponsorships and registration fees, said Katie Howard ’11 ’15 ’18, associate director of grants resources and services in Appalachian’s Office of Research and chair of this year’s event.
“We’ve had great response so far for our virtual event, with 100 participants registered. Having a window of two weeks in which to run has made it a lot more viable for people to participate,” Howard said.
For the past two years, Lindsay Pepper, assistant director of international student and scholar services and outreach in Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development, has earned third place in the race’s female division. She plans to participate again this year and will complete her 5K on hiking trails in Rome, Georgia — her current telecommuting location.
Last year Pepper packed hygiene products into backpacks that she handed out to children during the AppKIDS shopping day, which gave her a firsthand opportunity to see the result of her fundraising efforts in the 5K event.
“I love that the race is still happening virtually this year,” Pepper said. “This has always been a unifying event, with many faculty and staff participating.”
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.