This past Saturday, September 1, the first ever annual Keep Austin Well 5K Run/Walk was held at the beautiful Arbor Trails. The funds raised are benefitting CASA of Travis County and Austin Pets Alive!
Upon arriving the race, you would never be able to tell that this was Keep Austin Well’s first one. Well over 200 people registered and participants of all ages from kids to adults lined up behind the start line ready to go on race day. There were also crowds of friends and family members who stood by the race eager to support and cheer on their participating loved ones. At the end, it was calculated that Keep Austin Well raised over $6,000 in funds to donate to CASA of Travis County and Austin Pets Alive! “Not bad for our first 5K which was planned in only three months!” says Lori Massad-Koska, founder of Keep Austin Well and owner of Total Wellness Austin.
The race also benefitted the participants in many ways in addition to their physical fitness. Casey Steele, one of the runners who also brought along her three children, said that not only was she excited to support both Lori and the nonprofits, she also felt great afterwards. “I loved it! My almost four-year-old and seven-year-old did it with me (half of it). They had a great time with exercise as well as learning about the charities. They also loved talking to the police officers about safety.” She was very excited that her and her kids’ participation in the race enabled her to educate them about charities and how important exercise is.
Funds raised in the Keep Austin Well 5K Run/Walk will be donated to various different non-profits in the Austin area every year. This year, Keep Austin Well is benefitting CASA of Travis County and Austin Pets Alive! CASA of Travis County was chosen because Lori, who is also a survivor of domestic violence, wanted to address the issue through Keep Austin Well and CASA fights for abused and neglected children. Austin Pets Alive! was also chosen this year because it is a non-profit that Lori had been volunteering for for a while. She provides a yoga service for their dogs, called “Doga,” and it’s been such a success that dogs that have previously been unable to get adopted do so after just two sessions. For future runs, Lori plans on choosing which non-profits to benefit by staying on top of community news and meeting to discuss the matter with other local businesses.
Keep Austin Well did a fantastic job of literally keeping Austin well, for both the participants and the community. Considering the success of this year’s run, you can definitely expect to see many more in the years to come!
Keep Austin Well would like to thank The Shops at Arbor Trails, Baylor University’s ROTC, Austin Police Department and the Total Wellness Austin staff for all of their help and support. “I feel honored and proud to be a part of such a wonderful community of people!” Lori says.