Runners Rally Against Domestic Violence in Longmont 5K Run
Runners gathered today in Longmont not to compete against one another so much as to defeat domestic violence and support those affected by it.
Roughly 75 adults and children massed Saturday at Longmont’s McIntosh Lake to support the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain and the Longmont Ending Violence Initiative at their 5th annual 5K run.
As people trickled in to Dawson Park, volunteers at a tent set up in the shade registered them and gave out bibs. Participants and organizers mingled, waiting in the cool morning air.
Among the crowd was Danielle Dickson, who when asked why she came out to the race said, “Domestic violence is an important issue to me. I’m a former victim advocate in domestic violence in Denver and I’m currently a therapist here in the Longmont area, so I wanted to come out and give my support.”
Ken Giles, another runner, said it was his second year at the 5K. “Domestic violence used to be a joke in popular culture back in the 50′s... and now it’s getting its day as something we need to stop,” he said.
As time passed and participants gathered around the starting line to begin, J.P. Butler of the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley spoke, giving a heartfelt remembrance of JoAnn Grosswiler, the Safe Shelter’s former Emergency Shelter Director who passed away this past February, and dedicated the annual 5K to her.
Julie List, the shelter’s executive director, then grabbed the microphone.
“It’s been a tough year for us in a lot of ways, and so having our community support us is always the most important piece of our outreach and what we do,” she said. “So I’m not gonna talk anymore, I’m just gonna let you run ’cause I know that’s why you came this morning.”
As List yelled “go!” the crowd lurched forward, pouring through the gates.
During the race, List talked about why it’s been such a tough year for the Safe Shelter.
“Well, for whatever reason, we’re not certain the cause, things, client situations, have been increasingly violent,” she said.
List added that the recent triple homicide in Frederick has also sent waves through the community of domestic violence survivors in the Longmont area.
“Calls went up and concerns in the community have heightened... hopefully the awareness that results from it will help others to come forward,” she said.
Some of the proceeds of the 5K will go towards helping these people that are coming forward. They’ll also be going toward community education programs like Coaching Boys Into Men, an athletics mentorship program for young boys that teaches them to have healthy relationships. Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley offers many other services as well, including a 24-hour crisis hotline and emergency shelters.
Kim Heard, the project coordinator for LEVI, said her organization focuses more on prevention.
“I’m trying to help people [domestic violence victims] not fall through the cracks. So I do a lot of prevention, I do a lot of presentations out in the community, a lot to middle school age on teen dating violence and healthy relationships. I personally do about 100 presentations a year.”
Almost as soon as the race began, it ended; with some of the first to complete the run finishing in under a half hour. After everyone crossed the finish line, winners in each age group were announced, drawing applause from the tired but enthusiastic crowd. Runners, proud of their accomplishment, seemed more than happy that they came out to support LEVI and the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley.
“It’s a great way to get people out and do something they love doing and also support what we love doing,” List said.