East senior raises money for ColumBuddies through 5K walk-run

Columbus East baseball player Conner Barkes is using his senior project to raise money for ColumBuddies by putting together a 5K walk/run Saturday.

Registration will begin at 11 a.m., with the race starting at noon at Total Fitness of Columbus. Participants can pay $5 per person to join or $20 for those wanting a T-shirt.

ColumBuddies is an organization for special needs students between East and Columbus North that allows them to get together and do activities within the Columbus community. Barkes’ 19-year-old sister Courtney Barkes has been a member of ColumBuddies for five years, and that played a role in Conner’s choice for his senior project.

“I figured it’s a way for me to get them all together and a way to raise money to give to that program,” Conner said.

Conner said he’s had his ups and downs when trying to put the event together. Two of his main concerns were trying to market the race and getting companies to donate money for an event they’ve never heard about. He used social media, newspaper ads and posted fliers throughout the city to get the word out.

He needed companies to sponsor the event to pay for the cost of making the shirts. All profit made from the race and shirt sales will go toward ColumBuddies in an effort to help enable the organization to provide even more activities for its participants.

Courtney’s recent ankle surgery currently has her in a wheelchair, but either Conner or one of his family members will push her during the race. Conner is planning on pushing her if he’s able to participate, but if things are too busy for him to walk, then one of the other family members will step in to push.

Conner likes the fact that his senior project gives he and his classmates an opportunity to do something good in the community.

“I think it’s a way for us to kind of give back to the community,” Conner said. “It’s a very stressful process, but in the end, you get that relief that you just got it done.”

If you go

What: Conner Barkes 5K walk/run to support ColumBuddies

When: Registration starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, race starts at noon

Where: Total Fitness of Columbus, 3075 Middle Rd

Cost: $5 without a t-shirt or $20 with a t-shirt. Proceeds benefit ColumBuddies.

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.