3:45 in the morning came quickly for the flourish team as we prepared for the Upstate Run & Roll 5K on March 30, 2019 in Downtown Greenville, S.C. to benefit the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina (BIASC).
We arrived on-site at Cleveland Park around 5 a.m. to the welcoming roars of the lions at the Greenville Zoo. While that wasn’t what we were expecting, it was a cool way to start out the morning! Our team quickly worked to set up water stations, the new and improved signage, a step and repeat for a fun photo op, and several other details that helped make this 5K feel like a revived, refreshed event for BIASC.
The cool, crisp weather was perfect for a run; the pavilion was dressed in event signage; t-shirts were folded and prepared for pick up; a coloring station was set in preparation for those running on behalf of a specific loved one; and the “start” banner was hanging in anticipation of this great race.
With every event there are always hiccups, typically only noticed by event planners, and the Upstate Run & Roll 5K was no different. For instance, a water line was struck just an hour before the race was to begin, flooding the entire start line, but our trusty team acted quickly to manage and literally mop up the issue. Our course was even rerouted due to some creative participants, not purposefully, but our trusted leader, Emily Scurry, was able to remedy the situation with some on-the-spot comedy. Issues happen and, often, they are out of our control, but we are blessed with a strong, creative, and quick-minded team to overcome these issues.
The event started at 8 a.m. with a bustling of registration and packet pick up, followed by opening remarks by Sherry Caldwell, President of the BIASC; Emily DuBose, former BIASC President; and Joyce Davis, Executive Director of the BIASC. Our special guests and host committee were introduced and then the national anthem played loud as the American flag was displayed for all to see. As 8:30 a.m. came, the runners, rollers, and walkers were off with a bang!
Minute issues aside, the Upstate Run & Roll was incredibly successful. We raised nearly $25,000 on behalf of the BIASC, had almost 250 participants – nearly doubling last year’s participation, hosted some very special guests including the Halstead family and Tyrone Johnson, and were able to raise awareness for an organization that aids in providing resources, educating the public, and advocacy.
The event itself was held at a Cleveland Park pavilion, right outside of the Greenville Zoo, with the course itself running along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The pavilion housed several of our in-kind sponsors which included coffee and hot chocolate from Coffee Underground, chicken nuggets from Chik-Fil-A, and orange-ginger shots from Southern Pressed Juicery—all for the participants once they finished their run, walk, or roll. The grassy area around the pavilion was a perfect stage for the step and repeat, which became a popular attraction for fun photos of participants, supporters, and brain injury survivors. Lastly, the West End Co-op provided a canvas so people could write and share their story of how they have been impacted by brain injury.
The purpose of this event was to raise money for the organization, but it was also to grow awareness of the difference that the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina is making. By all accounts, it was indeed a successful event. To see the joy spread across the faces of brain injury survivors as they crossed the finish line, the tears well up in the eyes of loved ones who thought that would never be possible, and the hope in those who once had none—all of that is worth every moment of preparation, every long day of strategizing and marketing, every early morning, every issue needing resolving—those are the things that make what we do here at flourish so worth it.
I am blessed to work on a team that gets to serve the BIASC as a client and watch in support as they truly change lives.
Written by Taegen Jordan, event specialist