Donning sunglasses or goggles, runners prepared themselves to charge through a tunnel of colorful corn starch at Castle High School last Friday.

For the first year, the CHS Student Council hosted a For the Kids 3K (FT(3)K) where participants paid to run 1.8 miles around the complex, while volunteers tossed colorful water and powder at six different stations.

Participants paid $10 to take part in the race and $5 for FT(3)K shirts. With 200 participants including the soccer and volleyball teams, teachers and student council members, the event made more than $1,000.

“We wanted to keep it on school property and just get the school involved,” said Austyn Stierwalt, student body president and head of the Dance Marathon committee. “We were thinking maybe 70 people would come out, but we had 200 participants who signed up.”

All the proceeds will contribute to the funds raised by the 2015-2016 Dance Marathon, which benefits the Riley Children’s Foundation. The Riley Children’s Foundation is close to the heart of the Castle community with three current students benefitting from the services of the hospital.

“I have a special place in my heart for Riley Children’s Hospital,” said Stierwalt, “and this makes me feel good that we are changing the lives of people at the hospital.”

Originally the idea for the colorful 3K came from a Dance Marathon conference in Carmel.

Another high school organized an FT(3)K, and the CHS Student Council decided to bring the event to the Knights. Armed with Super Soakers, food coloring and 250 pounds of corn starch, Stierwalt and the rest of the Dance Marathon committee went to work organizing the event, dedicating three hours of one Saturday dyeing all the corn starch in time for the race.

“(Austyn) and the committee members have planned the entire race,” said Emily Garrett, co-advisor of Student Council. “From ordering the white t-shirts for the participants to making the powder out of corn starch, there is not a single part of this event that could not have been accomplished without her leadership and the students on the committee.”

The 3K was the first in a series of events leading up to the Dance Marathon on Feb. 12. It is the council’s goal to have one event every month before the marathon.

“The students have put an incredible amount of time and effort into this event,” said Garrett. “The FT(3)K is a prime example of the potential of our youth in making a positive impact on their community.

“Their passion is inspiring and their fundraising efforts are appreciated not only by those who are lucky enough to work with them, but also by the families of Riley Hospital who are grateful to have young adults love and fight for their children.”

Laura Acchiardo is a staff writer for Warrick News. Previously, she graduated from the University of Evansville with a degree in Journalism and has interned at The Message and Tucker Publishing.

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