McLean County Middle School’s Young Leaders in Action group, along with McLean County 4-H, hosted a 5K at Myer Creek Park on Saturday to raise funds for the park’s sewer project.

While the Young Leaders in Action had to work in a tight time-frame, according to middle school teacher Christin Crabtree, the 5k was a success with 31 runners signed up at $15 a head, raising a total of $465 for the park from runners alone. Crabtree said several community members also donated to the efforts.

The group organized the 5k as part of “Project Citizen,” which required the five students to find a community problem and come up with potential solutions and an action plan to help resolve it.

The students decided on helping the park after talking with Judge-Executive Curtis Dame about some of the county’s needs and how they could help.

“They love the park and what it can do for our community. They want to see bigger things come, like Beaver Dam and their amphitheater. I think that’s the ultimate goal,” Crabtree said. “There’s different organizations working in place here to get stuff done, but the bathrooms is the first step. We can’t have anything bigger without the restrooms.”

The group ultimately decided on organizing a 5k to raise funds for the park because they “thought it would be the easiest thing to do and would bring in the most money in such a short period of time.”

Crabtree said McLean County 4-H has discussed making the 5k an annual event to continue helping pay for park improvements. She said with more planning time, the race is likely to be even more successful than it was this year.

“It was in such a time-frame, we had to get it done,” she said. “Next year we can definitely … be able to get an earlier start on planning it and get the word out some more, but I mean, I was very pleased with the 30 people. That was great.”

The group handed out several awards to participants at the end of the race, including top male runner, Zach Kasey; top female runner, Tabitha Bell; youngest runner who finished the race, 6-year-old Hailey Brooks; and even best dog runner, Baxter Brooks who received his own medal.

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