Third 5K brings hope to Riverside

Some ran and some walked. Some went fast and some took their time.

But every one of the participants in Sunday afternoon’s third Corey Brown Memorial 5K Fun Run & Walk knew the significance of the event as a tribute to the young man who tragically died in January 2019.

Corey’s mom, Michelle Brown, did not have full numbers yet for money raised or the complete number of participants but said she was thrilled with how the event turned out.

“I think it was a fantastic turnout,” Brown said. “Beautiful day, lots of people showed up and participated and those who couldn’t come sent stuff in and donated and sent well wishes prior to the event. It’s a great turnout.”

Held at the Riverside Cemetery this year, the Brown Memorial 5K came in with the goal of helping to raise money for the cemetery given the damage it has incurred in the past three years through the 2018 tornado and the derecho in August of 2020.

She said when planning began for the third edition of the run, she had one place weighing on her mind — not least because Corey is buried at the cemetery.

“I come down here every day,” Brown said. “After the derecho hit, I drove down and there was a path that led right up to his grave and there were trees down, so I couldn’t drive any further. Every year I just pray about, ‘Where do you want us to hold it for next year?’ Riverside has been heavy on my heart and mind since everything happened.”

After registration at 11:30 a.m., the race began at noon with runners, joggers and walkers alike taking off from in front of Riverside’s main office building. The runners did 2 ½ laps around the paved road inside of the cemetery to complete the 5K distance.

Complimentary hot dogs, chips and cookies were provided with an optional free will donation to help the cemetery. Dave’s Coffee Cakes arrived for the second consecutive year and set up shop at the finish line as well.

All the proceeds from the event will go to Riverside, as the cemetery continues to try make repairs to numerous monuments and headstones that were damaged by the derecho.

Riverside’s general manager, Dorie Tammen, said the Browns came to her about six weeks ago with the idea of holding the race at the cemetery and raising donations for repairs.

“I was thrilled to have them decide to do it here and raise money for us,” Tammen said. “Neat event to have in a place like this too, I think. We like to have visitors here as much as we can have visitors here, so anything that brings people in. And they’re getting a good view of some of the areas that were pretty damaged.”

Sunny skies and warm weather arrived just in time for the event to start, and while runners and walkers wore different shirts, there was a consistent lime green theme. The reason? Corey loved the color lime green, and his father Craig is a Seattle Seahawks fan.

The color brings another memory of Corey and another reason to smile for Michelle. She acknowledged how tough this event can be, with all the positives of giving back and the memories that come flooding back to her.

“I felt the love and I felt Corey’s presence,” Brown said. “He loved to run, and that’s why we decided to honor him by having this 5K every year and bringing some good back to our community because it was such a tragic event that took place.

“I get overwhelmed with emotion when people come out, just knowing how blessed our family has been through all of this.”

Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com.


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