An annual race dedicated to raising mental health awareness in the region will have a decidedly superhero feel when it sets off on Friday evening.
The Road 2 Recovery Superhero 5K Race and Wellness Walk will start at 6:30 p.m. at St. George’s Church, 2 Nottingham Terrace, alongside Delaware Park.
Compeer of Greater Buffalo joined forces with the Mental Health Association of Erie County to host the event, which started in 1985 as the Run for Brain Research. Proceeds support the Compeer for Kids Mentoring Program and the CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, program sponsored by the Mental Health Association.
Organizers encourage all participants to dress up in their favorite superhero costumes to help raise awareness for the CASA program of volunteers, which helps abused children have their voices heard in court. The Superhero Foundation calls attention to the idea that while every child needs a hero, abused children need superheroes. Organizers hope participants will form teams for the event, and help to fundraise leading up to the event, for all those running and walking.
Race co-chairs Christine and Paul Phillips, parent advocates, are committed to promoting a better understanding and acceptance of those afflicted with mental illness, reducing the stigma associated with it and increasing outreach through public awareness and education.
This year’s race is in memory of Charlie Sabatino, professor emeritus of Daeman College, avid runner and a friend to the mental health community in the region.
The USA Track & Field-sanctioned 5K race walk will run in tandem with a 1.8-mile wellness walk. The public is welcome to attend the event, which includes a family-friendly after-party with food, drinks, beer, children’s activities, chair massage, food trucks, a dunk tank and live music from local band Flipside. Race organizers also are having a costume contest for best individual costumes and best team costumes.
To register for the run, which costs $30, and walk, which is $25, visit r2rsuperhero5k.com by Wednesday.