Annual DanceBlue 5K kicks off homecoming and year of fundraising


Runners approach the finish line of DanceBlue’s annual 5k on Sunday, October 6, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Natalie Parks | Staff

Natalie Parks

Rain didn’t stop the runners or the good mood at DanceBlue’s annual 5K. Race participants walked, ran and cheered each other on through the mist and slick streets.

The 5K, held at Kroger Field, kicked off homecoming week and DanceBlue’s year of fundraising for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic, a year that culminates in a 24-hour dance marathon.

“The money that we get from the 5K really goes to fund our whole year, fundraising-wise. While not all the money goes into the Golden Matrix fund itself, it helps us put on the marathon and the silent auction and other things that we do throughout the year,” said Sally Martin, DanceBlue’s overall chair.

Martin said about 1,300 people registered for the race.

“I don’t know how many will actually show up today, we always have a little more that registered, but still a big number for us,” said Martin. Although most participants are members of one of the 119 teams competing in DanceBlue, the race was open to everyone.

“We have a lot of alumni that come back, and different students that maybe are not wanting to participate in the marathon, faculty, staff, Lexington community members, really everyone,” said Martin.

The 5K theme was “Let’s get physical” and emulated the 80s-style jazzercise and aerobics, said Martin. Martin said they usually try to match the homecoming theme, but this year DanceBlue came up with their own. Because there is no longer a homecoming coalition, the point system for homecoming week is a bit different this year, said Martin.

Students earned 10 spirit points for participating in the 5K. Spirit points help students get a spot in the 24-hour dance marathon, said Martin, and can be earned through a team’s fundraising efforts and other DanceBlue events.

Lucy Childers participated to help her team from Alpha Chi Omega. Childers, a freshman, walked the 5K with her mother, Judy Potts, and dog, Winnie. Childers and Potts said they liked the rain.

Frannie Salisbury and Melissa McVicker said they did not mind the rain either.

“Honestly it was kinda nice, not going to lie,” said Salisbury, who appreciated how the rain kept things cool.

“I felt like it made me run faster too,” added McVicker.

Salisbury and McVicker are on the Delta Zeta team and said a lot of their friends also participated.

McVicker said this is her first year being involved with DanceBlue; in the past, she wanted to participate but was unsure of how to raise support.

“I just think this year, I’m a third year now, I need to make a difference, and I think this is the best way to do it as a community and as a whole at UK,” said McVicker.

This is Salisbury’s second year doing DanceBlue and she said she is happy to do it again.

“I think it’s a great organization and you kind of don’t understand the scope of it until you get involved in it,” said Salisbury of DanceBlue. “And this is an easy way to raise money and it’s good for you, gets you healthy, gets you motivated, and it’s also good for the organization cause they’re raising money.”

Mohammad Shalash, a junior in Beta Theta Pi, has a personal attachment to the race.

 “My little cousin had cancer, so like I look up to him and I’m here for him and every other kid that’s going through what he went through,” said Shalash. He said that running the 5K might be tough in the rain, but he was there for the kids.

Shalash said Beta Theta Pi had at least 55 runners at the time he arrived.

“It truly shows that these kids have so much support behind them,” said Shalash. “We know they’re going through tough times but we’re all here to support them and keep on pushing.”