UCF students donned glow sticks and light-up tutus for The Spark Run this past weekend.
Last Saturday night was filled with glow sticks and light-up tutus as participants ran the 3.1-mile course that was illuminated by neon and strobe lights. Then there was an after-party with a live DJ performance by Kaskade.
The 5K run/walk partnered with Knight-Thon, UCF's official philanthropy. The director of Knight-Thon, Drew Strochak, explained how the organization joined with The Spark Run.
"The Spark Run approached Knight-Thon about a partnership on a Market Wednesday about two weeks prior to the run," Strochak said. "They were looking to pair with a local charity."
Knight-Thon benefits the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, Winnie Palmer for Women and Babes and Shands Children's Hospital. All of the money raised is used to provide life-giving care for children.
The Spark Run donated $1,000 in exchange for Knight-Thon providing volunteers for the Packet Pick Up event and day and night shifts during the event.
"Knight-Thon was also given $2 for each runner that used the code SPARKLUV," Strochak said.
Ryan Raddon, whose performance name is Kaskade, is the host and creator of the Spark Run. This a national tour and he has already traveled to Denver and Los Angeles. The Spark Run partners with different charities and philanthropies in each city to which he travels. In Denver and Los Angeles, Spark Run partnered with the local Special Olympics.
Strochak enjoyed working with The Spark Run.
"They were extremely enjoyable to partner with," Strochak said. "They were so enthusiastic about our organization and we loved their concept of a glow run with a concert following."
The night was filled with energy, enthusiasm and a lot of neon. Many participants signed up because they are fans of Kaskade, but loved the idea of combining electronic music and exercise.
Steven Gomez, a senior game design major, ran his first 5K on Saturday.
"I decided to do The Spark Run because I have never done a 5K and I love Kaskade," Gomez said. "I've never done a 5K and thought this is the perfect way to get into it."
Hilary Miller, creative director for The Spark Run, tabled at UCF the week before to promote the run.
"The Spark Run crew is not local, so we needed a lot of hands on deck," Miller said. "The only challenge I experienced was wanting to offer more and more giveaways to [UCF] students."
During Market Wednesday, students had the chance to win a free shirt or discounts on registration.
Miller fulfills a lot of different roles as the creative director for The Spark Run.
"My title covers a lot of different areas," Miller said. "From collaborating with other artistic and lighting directors to help design the course, to designing posters and editing videos for social media."
Knight-Thon is the collaboration between students, student organizations and community partners to raise money year-round for the Greater Orlando Children' Miracle Network Hospitals. Every spring is Knight-Thon's dance marathon where students stand for 20 hours straight.
Strochak, a senior communication disorders major, said her passion for Knight-Thon began her freshman year of college.
"My passion for this cause and organization has consistently grown since freshman year when I was a participant with my sorority. I fell in love with everything dance marathon and the families that we serve in the Greater Orlando area," Strochak said. " It's one of the best things I have been a part of at UCF and it's amazing seeing an entire community come together for one cause."