The first-ever 5Kave run in the Valmeyer caves at Rock City earned rave reviews and thousands of dollars for the Monroe County startUP program.
“It was really a tremendous success,” class chief executive officer Reagan Herrmann said of the Feb. 27 event. “It was really encouraging to see the support we received from the community. We’re grateful for all our sponsors, volunteers, participants and everyone who helped us along the way.”
Over 300 people participated in the fundraiser, with proceeds going to help the startUP students as they create their individual businesses over the rest of the spring semester.
Runners who spoke with the Republic-Times were effusive in their praise of the event.
“It was a great run and a great race,” Monroe County Commissioner George Green said. “It was well laid out and well managed. The lighting was good. The safety precautions were in place.”
The setting for the 5K, in particular, made the run stand out.
“It was a really cool experience,” Waterloo native Justin Unterseh said. “The environment and everything was awesome — just something I’m not used to.”
“It’s pretty fun to be in here,” Justin Reichert of Columbia agreed after finishing the race. “I’d never been in here before. The course was well marked, a little rough in patches, but not too bad overall. I had a great time.”
The startUP students knew footing could be an issue, and Green said they addressed that matter well.
“Where there was rough terrain it was labeled and they had people there just to keep an eye on things. It was a great experience,” he said.
The class also had an ambulance and Valmeyer police officer on standby in case anything happened to a runner, but both of those precautionary measures were not used.
The Valmeyer Village Board was so impressed with the students that it decided to waive the approximately $100 cost it planned to charge the officer working the race.
“They did such a good job,” Mayor Howard Heavner said of the students.
That will help make the accounting a little easier, as Herrmann said the class is still calculating expenses.
She estimated it will have raised between $11,000 and $12,000 from the 5Kave once all those are paid.
For the students, the focus now turns to their individual business ideas, which they will present at an annual trade show before the semester ends.