Miracle Bunny Trail 5K Run, Walk at Penn State Fayette to raise funds for Miracle Field in Uniontown
Every child enjoys playing, but for some who are physically or mentally challenged, a simple game of baseball can be difficult on regular fields. But the officials of the Miracle League of Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands have made many dreams come true with last summer's opening of Miracle Field in Uniontown.
A second annual Miracle Bunny Trail 5K Run and Walk will be held on Saturday at the Penn State Fayette Eberly Campus, with proceeds going to the MLPLH.
After the success of the first year, event organizers decided to continue with the run, hoping to draw even more participants.
“We decided to start this for two reason,” said Josh Scully, MLPLH board member and event coordinator. “First, we wanted to increase the league's exposure to the community, and second, we are still saving for our next major goal: a rubberized surface for our field in Uniontown. We had Johnny Franklin, director of League Development for the Miracle League, visit our field in Uniontown from Atlanta in November. He said we are on the right track and shared with us different surfacing options.”
They had only a short period to organize last year's race. This year, organizers planned for a full year to fine-tune the event that has proven to be popular within the community and region, Scully said.
“We organized last year's 5K in less than three months, and everyone involved with the league seemed to be working nonstop,“ Scully said, adding that last year's event drew more than 350 participants. “A lot of early estimates had us with only 100 to 150 participants, so we were fortunate that the community supported us so well. This year we had more time to work on some finer details, and we tried to do more in terms of creating awareness for the event, since we had many months to get the word about the 5K out this year.”
They increased the amount of raffle prizes that will be made available, gathering together donated items that include many sports-related items as well as tickets and passes to area attractions, Scully said.
Last year, the league drew about 40 participants from all over Southwestern Pennsylvania. This year, Scully hopes to attract about 70 young players who want to participate. Proceeds from the run will go a long way to helping them achieve their dreams, he said.
Last year, the run event raised $7,000, and this year the goal is $9,000.
“Our league's motto is, every child deserves a chance to play baseball,” Scully said. “With the continued support from this region, I don't doubt that every child will have an opportunity to enjoy America's pastime and the wonderful sense of belonging that can come with that experience.”
Registration begins at 7 a.m. at the Penn State campus cafeteria. The run is slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10:01 a.m. Prerace packet pickup will be held at the Penn State Fayette Campus cafeteria from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday.
Registration, which secures a T-shirt, is $18 for adults; $16 for those 60 years and older register; and $10 for the Kid's Hop.
Registration forms are online or may be obtained on race day starting at 7 a.m. at the campus cafeteria.
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.