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Runners race through cave for a good cause at Groundhog Run

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jan 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-27 23:53:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It might not be ideal weather for running outside, but Sunday morning was perfect for a run in a 60-degree cave.

More than 4,000 people turned out for the "Groundhog Run," which actually sparked a love for running for one competitor.

"I found out running on a treadmill that I could do some running, which I could never run around the block before," Jack Baker said.

He chose the 5-kilometer run as his first race.

"I came and it changed my life really," Baker said.

This is his fifth time running at the age of 67 and he has completed 22 runs. He hopes to inspire others to get out and run.

"What I like about the run is you can finish it, because all you have to do it keep going," Baker said.

The run benefits Ability KC, which helps support families who have children with disabilities paying for medication as well as therapeutic and educational help.

One family the organization helps is the Turner family.

"Emmanuel was diagnosed two years ago with autism," said Maude Turner, whose son goes to Ability KC.

The organization changed the Turner family's lives after moving to the area four years ago.

"It's been a huge help, because they thought Emmanuel was going to be a non-verbal child," Turner said. "Now, he's able to speak. I can hear my son call mommy, daddy and name the things he wants."

Organizers said the goal of the Groundhog Run was to raise a several hundred thousands dollars, but the participants don't mind as they hope the money makes a difference in children's lives.

"It's going to benefit somebody to the good," Baker said. "It's not political or something else. It's something that really gets down and be able to touch lives and what a blessing."

The run has raised more than $5 million since its inception.