Thriving on Passion and Enthusiasm: A YV5K Story

The committee appointed Linthicum to headline the charity event and it got underway. Linthicum began by driving his car to chart a course in the Ridgeway Center district. The next step was to find a place for the post-race party.

The first events were held literally “out of the trunk of your car”, complete with racing jerseys, bibs and prizes. She counted the money raised at his kitchen table and even called The Commercial Appeal to report the results.

“It just grew from there,” Linthicum said. “Over the years, we’ve gotten more board input.”

When the two organizations merged in 1986, the race was still called Boys Town, but changed to Youth Villages in the early 1990s. Since its inception, the race has raised more than $2.25 million.

“In addition to raising millions of dollars to support Youth Villages programs, more than 75,000 have run in the race, raising more awareness of the needs of children and youth in our community,” said Youth Villages Executive Director Patrick Lawler. .

memories and more

With each race, the YV5K has grown in both numbers and great memories. According to LaBarreare, a real estate agent parachuted into the race area as part of the ceremonies leading up to the event. In a race pigeons were released at the beginning. Another race had a diaper derby. A couple of years they even had Millington Marines running at full throttle.

“We tried to do something different,” Linthicum said. “We tried to turn around.”

One year, a twist in the race route made runners think they had set 5K world records. The police car was at the front of the race followed by the lead car, which the runners had to follow. The police car turned down a side street to proceed to another point on the route. However, the lead car also turned and the runners followed. “The course was interrupted a little bit that year,” LaBarreare said, laughing.

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With the YV5K running in the spring in its first 37 years, the weather played a role in the event and the making of memories.

“We’ve had a heat wave, we’ve had snow,” LaBarreare said. “We’ve had runners bring hand warmers, gloves. We had to bring ice to the stage because there weren’t enough water stations.”

In the early 1990s, a race brought a downpour. The post-race event held in the hotel’s ballroom featured more than 1,000 soaking wet runners. “We were hoping the rain would stop, but it started when the race started,” Linthicum said. “It was like a flood.”

A lasting effect of the YV5K is that it helped jumpstart the running community in the Memphis area. An Arlington native, Linthicum recalled that there weren’t many 5Ks growing up, and there were only 10 5K events in Memphis when YV5K started. “Running and biking have now become a part of tourism in the area, especially with all the trails around town,” Linthicum said.

A trail was built on the Dogwood Campus with proceeds from one of the races. Construction of the trail led to the start of the Youth Villages Running Club, which attracts local runners to volunteer and help children served by the organization’s residential programs learn to run and compete in local races! and even to win! Since its inception, the YV5K has had hundreds of children and youth from the Youth Villages run in the race through a partnership with the Memphis Runners Club.

“Pat has spoken about how this has impacted kids on campus,” Linthicum said. “The kids never exercised and now they brag about how fast they run. He is helping children learn to take care of their bodies.”

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In addition, the YV5K has raised funds for other projects and programs. Fundraising from the early races helped build the school on the Bartlett campus. The race continues to support Youth Village programs such as the Chris Crye Mentoring Program.

“Having a mentor makes a huge difference in the lives of the children and youth who receive help at our residential campus,” Lawler said. “We greatly appreciate the support of MAAR, our title sponsor, and Crye-Leike Realtors. The entire real estate community makes a difference by participating in the race every year.”

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