Two high school cross-country runners are running the Fourth Annual 5K on Turkey Day fundraising run/walk for the local Love Chapel food pantry.

Running it, as in administering and operating it as part of a combined Columbus North High School senior project.

As behind-the-scenes coordinators, Madelyn Sanders and Claire Malone will have no time to literally participate in the event at 8 a.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, beginning at the National Guard Armory in Columbus.

The event also includes a 10K run.

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Sanders and Malone expect part of their time may be consumed with last-minute entrants as they move toward goals of 300 runners and $12,000 raised.

No need to wonder what marketing ploy they’ve employed to urge people to run on what is normally a chilly fall morning just before a day of family and festivities.

“I always tell people that if they do this, then they can eat more at their Thanksgiving meal,” Sanders said.

And then watch the turkey gravy run.

“I think it sounds like something fun to do with the family before you go celebrate (the holiday),” Malone said. “And it’s obviously good to do something for a charity that gives to those who otherwise might not have a Thanksgiving celebration.”

The pair knew others who had organized the previous 5K on Turkey Day events. And, because of a huge annual canned food drive at North this time of year, they knew of Love Chapel’s food pantry that feeds some 1,100 Bartholomew County households monthly, which constitutes about 4,000 individuals, according to current agency figures.

Plus, the mobile monthly pantry reaches about 100 families.

“We’re both very happy to help out,” Malone said. “And we knew this would be fun to do together.”

Besides the food pantry, the two also learned about Love Chapel’s Brighter Days Housing homeless shelter and other outreaches, getting a big-picture perspective on the nonprofit agency supported by area Christian churches and other private and corporate donors.

“I don’t think either of us realized just how big of a community impact Love Chapel has,” Sanders said.

So far, at press time, they already had raised several thousand dollars.

“This hasn’t been too hard, yet, because it is already a pretty well-established event,” Sanders said.

The pair began meeting in June to plan the latest effort. They laughed when asked if they expected to be using some summer time to simply have fun.

“Who said this isn’t fun?” Malone asked. “But it didn’t really start to get fast-paced until maybe September, and that’s when we began to hit it hard.”

Malone’s family is participating the 5K as walkers — and she has encouraged those not in the best shape to enjoy the 3.1-mile stroll. Plus, Sanders offered a reminder that organizers allow participants to bring leashed dogs along for the journey.

Malone figures the Turkey Day events will help her after they help others. That’s because she soon will help local Dance Marathon organizers attract more support.

“I’ll know a lot more about getting sponsors for an event,” she said. “That’s a big skill — and I’m going to really need it.”

Turkey Day

What: The Fourth Annual 5K on Turkey Day fundraiser to benefit Columbus’ Love Chapel food pantry.

When: 5K and 10K races will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Where: Starting and finishing at the National Guard Armory, 2160 Arnold St. in Columbus.

Cost: $25 for the 5K and $30 for the 10K, plus a five-cans of food minimum donation for the food pantry.

To register: Visit, then type in 5K on Turkey Day, then click Indiana, or send an email to

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.