Runners laced up their shoes Saturday morning and some dressed in their favorite superhero outfit.
It was all for a good cause.
More than 100 runners darted through Regional Park in support of Southern Oklahoma’s Superman Conner McDougall, 11, as well as other children with medical needs or crisis.
“I’ve always wanted to run with Conner since he was stable enough after the wreck,” said Erin Wlodarczyk, Conner’s aunt. “However, I didn’t get to do that until we started this 5K. I’ve pushed him every year.”
When Conner was 20 months old, he was injured in a car accident that took the lives of his father Kris and big brother Adam.
Fund-raisers such as Adam’s Cape Run have been the only way his family can afford to get him the therapy and equipment needed for him to beat this injury.
The mission of Adam’s Cape Run is to not only raise money for Conner’s medical needs but those of families who have children with similar medical hardships.
Over the last two years, Adam’s Cape has helped to ease the financial burden of six other families.
Event coordinator Eric Holquin says Saturday’s run raised about $12,000 and that was despite the event occurring on tax-free weekend: $11,000 was raised in sponsorships and an additional $865 from registration fees and the sale of T-shirts.
Jaime Sanford was ecstatic when she found out that she could walk in Saturday’s run with her daughter Bailey wearing a Wonder Woman T-shirt and Batgirl outfit, respectively.
Captain America, Batman, Wonder Woman, Thor and The Incredible Hulk flanked them as they approached the finish line.
“I couldn’t wait and I was excited when I found out that they had outfits for her,” Jaime said. “It’s very good.”
Gono Enriquez finished in a time of 18 minutes, 23.92 seconds to win the men’s race for the fifth consecutive year. Clinton Bland was runner-up in 18:47. Chris Lipscomb ran to bronze in a time of 19:14.
Mihaela Pope was crowned champion of the women’s division after she crossed the finish line in a time of 20:39, four seconds ahead of runner-up Sarah Olney (20:43). Kayleigh Norris (22:01) took third.
Wlodarczyk pushed Conner across the finish line in a time of 28:37.
“He weighs about 80 pounds plus the stroller,” Wlodarczyk said. “It definitely changes how I run but it’s so worth it.”
Conner still has a long road ahead of him.
The diaphragmatic pacer that he uses is a form of medical ventilation for those who are unable to breathe on their own and have been dependent on a ventilator.
Basically, it is electric stimulation to his diaphragm that strengths his diaphragm muscles so he is able to breathe on his own again.
Conner maintains a positive attitude as he continues to try to beat the odds of overcoming this injury.
“He’s the strongest kiddo I’ve ever met,” Wlodarczyk said.