FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- A little wind and rain couldn't stop runners from participating in the 11th annual Run for Riley, and many of them have a personal connection.
"I think that's what's so special about the race. Most of the people around here are doing it for someone that they know personally," said Barb Richards, the co-founder of the race.
Over 7,000 kids in our community have been treated at Riley, and some were at the race.
"The left side of my heart wasn't working right, so I got rushed by ambulance to Riley Hospital," said Joshua Clark, 13, a Riley kid.
Clark had heart surgery when he was a baby, but that hasn't held him back.
"One doctor told me that I wouldn't be able to do that much, so I wanted to prove him wrong," Clark said.
So, he did, running just over three miles for the kids that can't. His sister, Elizabeth Clark, ran with him, and said she had trouble keeping up.
"It's so cool to see that his little heart can work like that," Elizabeth Clark said.
Middle school football players at Maple Creek ran the five mile race. Their coach said he's met a lot of Riley kids over the years.
"You get emails, or you hear about this student you had, or this student you do have that's made several trips to Riley because of this illness or that illness, so that's definitely a personal motivation to participate, and encourage our kids to participate," said Coach Matt Motz.
The kids came out of the race sore and tired.
"It really frustrates us that we have to do this, but it's for a good cause," said Gilbert Ruselink, a middle school student.
Coach Motz knows they learned a valuable lesson, though.
"We want them to understand what some of these kids at Riley go through on a daily basis... Running into the wind, that's never easy, but it's didn't seem to slow them down over here," Motz said.
To learn more about Riley, or to get involved, visit their website here.
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