Sometimes it feels good to do something good. You’ll have just that opportunity on April 22 by taking part in “Run Because You Can”, an inspirational 5K run/walk and kids fun run presented by local nonprofit, Runnin’ for Rhett.
Founded in memory of a boy named Rhett Seevers, who was born with severe cerebral palsy and passed away at the age of seven, the organization started after his mom took up running as a way to deal with her grief.
Although Rhett lived a full life and experienced all the joys his family experienced, he was wheelchair bound and never got the chance to join his family in physical activities. It is for this reason that the run is called Run Because You Can, as the name is meant to remind us that we should live life to the fullest and take advantage of the blessings that others may not have.
The 5k is open to all ages, but uniquely includes a group of young runners who are a part of the organization’s Youth Fitness Program, a free 5-week after school program that trains kids for the 5k. In addition, the race brings together children from schools throughout the region who have received program grants from the nonprofit.
“When we talk to our Youth Fitness students we tell them that they have the ability to run and walk, something that Rhett couldn’t do,” said program director, Lisa O’Shea, who keeps Rhett at the heart of the training. “We ask them to do this for him, but most importantly for themselves.”
Runnin’ for Rhett was established in 2007 and has been making an impact on local communities ever since. In 2010, the organization expanded by creating the Youth Fitness Program. Today, they have two kid training programs a year, during spring and fall, and they typically train over 65 schools and 3,000 students each season to compete in a 5K race.
The organization has become the largest fitness program in Northern California, and to date Runnin’ for Rhett has inspired over 500 schools and 23,000 students to get up and start running. The training they receive is put to use on the day of the run, and the satisfaction these students feel makes all the training worthwhile.
“This is the day that our students get to put all of their training and hard work to the test to prove to themselves that they were able to set a goal and accomplish that goal,” said O’Shea. “It is an unforgettable sight to see thousands of children all dressed in their Runnin’ for Rhett baby blue shirts, running for a little boy that they never got the chance to meet, but wanting to do something for him – Run for Rhett.”
The impact doesn’t stop there, though. The “Run Because You Can” 5K race inspires adults and parents to get running as well, both in the 5k and through adult training sessions throughout the year. Adult runners during the race will run separate from the kids so they have their own space to participate.
Proceeds from the run are put right back into the organization’s youth programs.
“For the public to be a part of this is very special,” said O’Shea. “They will be supporting our Youth Fitness Program when they register for the race as the majority portion of the registration fee goes back into our Youth Fitness Program to help us change the lives of even more students.”
The mission of Runnin’ for Rhett is to inspire those who feel defeated, to uplift those who feel down, and to encourage all to take that first step and move into life. The merit of this organization speaks for itself, as its mission is often fulfilled—it has inspired and continues to inspire those who can run to take that step and live life to the fullest.
You can take that first step and run for Rhett Seevers—in doing so you will not only benefit yourself, but also your community and the children in it.
The run begins and ends at Sacramento City College after winding through Curtis Park. The race also includes a kids fun run 1/4 mile dash prior to the start of the 5k. Registration must be received by Apr. 13 to guarantee a shirt.
To learn more about the race and the organization, and to register, visit runbecauseyoucan.org.