Next February, Faribault mother of three, Laura O’Connor, will run the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Disney World in Orlando.
After taking six years off from exercise while having kids, she signed up to become a Miracle Maker and raise money for Children’s Miracle Network which funds 170 children’s hospitals around the country. To raise money in the community, O’Connor created an event that focused on children’s fitness, healthy snacks and dancing.
Saturday’s Kids Challenge Course raised $5,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. It was funded by 38 local businesses, and took place in the lot behind Hy-Vee gas station.
“We needed a location that would provide ample parking, power, close to amenities and near the freeway for visitors,” said O’Connor.
One kids got their race bibs, they were guided into either a toddler pool noodle course or one with nine obstacles for older children. Supervising the stations were local fire fighters, police officers, a teacher, personal trainers, a restaurant owner, and O’Connor’s friends and family.
Once kids ran through the obstacles, they picked up their medal and entered an-after party tent where their families could enjoy a free healthy shake and snack while 12-year-old DJ Hunter kept the energy high.
Hooperina entertained the crowd of over 400 guests with an interactive Hula Hoop show.
Kids were also encouraged to participate in a scavenger-type hunt in the Hy-Vee produce section and health market. Kids received a map to help them find eight large, golden medallions placed near different items in the store. Each medallion was accompanied by a word that the children would write down on their map. Children were then asked to rearrange the words into a phrase, then turn in their entry for a chance to win prizes that included running shoes, a backpack and school supplies.
“I wanted kids to have a fun experience with the health market to break down any barriers they may have had previously. I used to be really intimidated by that area of the store, but over time have become more familiar with it and shop it frequently.” says O’Connor.
Kids were invited to stay the entire duration of the event and go through the course as many times as they wanted to. Many went through up to 10 or more times..
When O’Connor crosses the finish line in Orlando, she will wear her race shirt that children from Kids Challenge Course signed to represent the support from her community.