Center Grove event Rock the Block already has 950-plus registrants
Center Grove High School will play host to an inaugural 5K/10K run and kids race benefiting nonprofits in White River Township. Rock the Block starts at 8 a.m. Saturday in what event organizer Erin Smith hopes becomes an annual tradition.
“I think our community is hungry for more healthy events that allow us to get together and make memories,” Smith said. “I would love to see this be a large event that families look forward to and plan for.”
Most of the township is unincorporated, so hosting a community event for an area with no municipality may sound strange. While the unincorporated issue may be a sore spot for some township residents, Smith hopes Rock the Block will become something everyone can get behind.
“We have built a large community; however, only a third is directly connected by the school system,” Smith said. “I want to give back to my entire community, not just the school system. I feel like the entire community has impacted my family and my boys.”
She has worked with her contacts from previous events to organize a committee and receive permission to hold the race. This includes Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox and other county officials.
“There are not many 10Ks in our state,” Smith said. “The event is situated in the calendar to train for the Mini (Marathon) in May. It’s a really big deal in order to get a permit. It’s going to be a pretty route, very scenic and an opportunity to showcase our neighborhoods.”
Smith has managed fundraising events for nonprofits through her firm, Spotlight Strategies, and Pay It Forward Johnson County, a nonprofit she co-founded. This made her pitch more credible to sponsors and Center Grove Schools for hosting it.
“By doing this type of event the school is a huge resource because they are allowing us to have the event on campus,” Smith said. “But it is benefiting more than just school programs.”
School programs, including choir and robotics, make up a big portion of the benefiting charities, which include Mount Auburn United Methodist and SS. Francis & Clare churches. Cheryl Bird and Diane Smith have worked with the charities to educate them about the event and how they can win grant dollars on race day.
Krista Smith is registering runners and heading up the Main Street expo of booths for charities and sponsors. Among businesses offering food samples will be the Flying Cupcake and the Stacked Pickle.
“If you have younger kids who are interested in doing robotics or choir or whatever it may be, it will be an opportunity to come and hang out with some of those kids and see what is expected as you get a little bit older and get into the school system.” Smith said.
The musical entertainment will feature former “American Idol” contestant Jon Klaasen, country duo Christine Nicole Smith and Jake Underwood, acoustic trio Black Water Gypsy and the Greenwood-based acoustic duo Exit 99.
Runners can register at www.rocktheblock.org for $30; discounts are available to families. Since more than 800 people have registered, Smith said she believes a goal of 1,500 is in reach.
“We have had just an outpouring of people who have wanted to make this a success. It makes it worth all the while to get involved and be a part of your community.”