Run raises $24K for after-school programs

Four miles and tens of thousands of donated dollars later, Lawrence youngsters can look forward to more places to chat and learn after school this year.

The second annual Red Dog Run snaked around the banks of the Kansas River on Saturday, capping a summer of Red Dog fitness activities and raising about $24,000 for the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club.

The money will help the club pick up kids from two more Lawrence schools and provide more after-school and weekend programs for teenagers at South Junior High School.

“We’ll be able to actually serve more kids,” Boys & Girls Club Director Janet Murphy said.

Under a hazy Saturday sky, more than 240 runners and walkers navigated both two- and four-mile courses. Last year, 160 runners participated.

Runners’ entrance fees helped raise some money, and a $10,000 donation from American Family Insurance was essential to the program’s growth, Murphy said.

The additional after-school programs will supplement the club’s current programs at eight Lawrence schools and its headquarters at 1520 Haskell Ave.

Runners embark on a four-mile course on the Kansas River levee for the second annual Red Dog Run. About 240 runners participated in the event, which was organized by the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club and Don Red

Don “Red Dog” Gardner has worked with the run’s board of directors in the past and said he spent this year helping to mark off the course and serving as the starter for the race.

“Ready, set, go,” Gardner explained. “That wasn’t too hard.”

Gardner, who has run Red Dog’s Dog Days workout program for the past 23 years, said the race served as a good ending event to his summer of exercise, and even though the day was muggy, the turnout was great.

Of that field of runners, Dog Dayer Scott Mcvey won the overall four-mile race, Gardner said. Mcvey has won several local races.

As a whole, the race again brought out Lawrence’s running constituency, just as the Cross Town Unity Run did last weekend.

Jessica Wall attended both races, training for marathons in Omaha, Neb., and Chicago later this year.

Saturday, minutes after she crossed the finish line near the river levee, she gathered bagels and fresh fruit from the covered porch of Johnny’s, 401 N. Second St.

Wall said that in supporting the Lawrence races, she also got the added bonus of helping local programs like the Boys & Girls Club.

“I think that’s part of the incentive,” Wall said.