Matt Hupp was just 13 when he passed away from Burkitt's Lymphoma in 2009. He would have turned 17 on Oct. 8.
To honor Matt's memory and his love for all sports, Matt's Mile and 5K will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 in Prairie Crossing to benefit the 12 Oaks Foundation, which was established in 2010 by the Hupp family.
The foundation raises money to support other families coping with cancer and to help cover the costs of sports programs, extracurricular activities and camps for children with cancer as well as their siblings.
"He'd say you're working too hard," said Matt's mom, Julie Hupp, when asked what Matt would think of all the work they have done with Matt's Mile and the 12 Oaks Foundation.
"I think he'd be proud and honored over the support in his name," she said.
To date, the 12 Oaks Foundation has raised about $200,000 to help families coping with cancer in addition to supporting summer sports camps and other activities.
Runners and walkers alike are invited to participate in Matt's Mile, which includes a 1-mile race for kids 13 and younger at 5 p.m.; a 1-mile race for runners 14 and older at 5:20 p.m.; and a 5K run or walk for all ages at 5:40 p.m.
So far, said Julie Hupp, more than 300 people have registered for the event. They hope to get many more.
Event organizers said all runners are chip-timed. Mostly on crushed gravel trails, the 5K course takes participants past an organic farm, prairies, horse pastures and a stable, and around Lake Aldo Leopold.
An awards ceremony follows the race, and the top three male and female runners in each age group will take home medals. Anyone who can beat Matt Hupp’s fastest one-mile race time of 6:13 or his fastest 5K race time of 21:27 will also be automatically entered in a raffle to win a gift basket or other prizes.
Registration is $25 for kids running the one-mile race, and $35 for all other participants. Each registration fee includes a free T-shirt, free dinner with choices from Emil's or Papa John's, free beverage, either beer or soda, and the post-race party featuring music by Memory Makers.
"Someone said to me it was like a big city block party," said Julie Hupp of last year's event.
Tickets to attend the party only, including food, drinks and entertainment, are $15.
To register for Matt’s Mile & 5K or make a donation to 12 Oaks, visit www.12oaksfoundation.org.
Supplemental information provided by 12 Oaks Foundation.