Highland News Leader

These friends have been running together for years. Now, they’re running for a cause.

Six Highland friends are running a 24-hour relay at Dennis Rinderer Park and around the city to raise money for two area mothers battling cancer and the city’s All-Abilities Playground. From left are Jason Shup, Todd Zobrist, Corey Knebel, Ryan Goodwin, Jeff Weinacht and Ryan Dumstorff
Six Highland friends are running a 24-hour relay at Dennis Rinderer Park and around the city to raise money for two area mothers battling cancer and the city’s All-Abilities Playground. From left are Jason Shup, Todd Zobrist, Corey Knebel, Ryan Goodwin, Jeff Weinacht and Ryan Dumstorff Provided

For as long as they can remember, six Highland resident’s friendship has been centered on one thing — running.

The friends — Ryan Dumstorff, Ryan Goodwin, Corey Knebel, Jason Shup, Jeff Weinacht, and Todd Zobrist — have been racing, training and just running for fun together for years. One race in particular, the KT82 Katy Trail relay race, is a yearly staple for the group.

But this year, while getting ready for 2018 to wrap up, Dumstorff had an idea.

He heard of two area mothers, each with four children, currently battling cancer, one of which fighting cervical cancer for the second time. He said he was eager to help out, but at first wasn’t sure how he could.

“Ryan kind of pitched it to us and we liked the idea,” Weinacht said.

The idea was a relay in Highland, where Dumstorff and his buddies would run a 24-hour relay, raise money for each leg run and accept flat donations to benefit the two families and another charitable cause.

Set to be held in Dennis Rinderer Park, the first Highland Holiday All-Nighter will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec.28. The last mile will begin at 4 p.m. the next day.

Each runner will run four hours total and seek pledges for every mile run during the 24-hour span.Their hope is to complete at least 150 miles.

Dumstorff said the relay also will accept flat donations, which many donors have already pledged. Currently, they’ve raised a good chunk of that goal.

“Our goal is $5,000, to date we’re knocking on $1,200,” Dumstorff said.

The money raised during the relay will not only benefit those two local families but also the second phase of Highland’s brand new All-Abilities Playground, which allows children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to play in an area built for their needs.

“Ideally 80 percent of our proceeds will go to the families, that’s where we think we can make the most impact,” Dumstorff said. “But we’re hoping to give some to the playground as well.”

The group also will host a 5k run Saturday, Dec. 29, to offer anyone the opportunity to run alongside them. Entry to the relay is $25. Dennis Rinderer Park will serve as the base camp for the runners and will be the starting location for the 5k run.

A camper and fire pits will be set up at the park for runners and those who would like to watch.

Anyone interested in supporting the Highland Holiday All-Nighter is welcome to drop donations off at First Mid Bank & Trust or Pulse Personal Training.

More information, such as a course map, schedule of relay runners, and 5k details can be found on their Facebook page and by emailing holidayrun24@yahoo.com.

Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.

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