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Organizers plan third annual PFK 5K for May 11

Special to the Enquirer

The PFK 5K takes place the weekend of Kayleigh’s birthday each year and welcomes hundreds of runners.

Running for a cause

By Lauren Jackson lauren.jackson@hartselleenquirer.com

The third annual Prayers for Kayleigh Foundation 5K will be held May 11. The 5K race will begin at 8 a.m., and the one-mile fun run will begin immediately following the 5K. There will also be cake for nibbling, and a blood drive will accompany the event.
Carrow McClendon is the executive director of the Foundation and the mother of Kayleigh, who passed away in November 2016 after her struggle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a specific type of brain tumor. McClendon said beyond raising money for local programs, the race is a way to celebrate her daughter’s birthday each year. “It’s our 5K fun run, but it’s also Kayleigh’s birthday bash. We do it the weekend that was both her birthday and the diagnosis date,” McClendon said. “We have birthday cake after the race as part of snacks. We usually have 40 big birthday cakes.”

The money from the 5K will be used in three new foundation programs. Kayleigh’s Closet helps serve local children who need clothing; a classroom grant helps provide for local classrooms; and scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors each May. “Really, the race helps us fund all of those. We have big goals to do all those things,” McClendon said.

In the past two years, McClendon said hundreds have come out to take part in the 5K and birthday celebration. She said her favorite part is being able to catch up with some of Kayleigh’s old friends. “I don’t get to watch Kayleigh grow up, so to get to watch those kids race and watch them grow up – that is so very fun. I can’t wait to see who they are going to be,” McClendon said.
To register for the race or to volunteer, visit https://thepfkfoundation.org/. The 5K race is $25 per person or $20 for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The fun run is $10 per person. Each runner receives a T-shirt and medal. Those who run in the 5K also receive a swag bag, and trophies will be awarded to the overall male and female of different age groups.