(Posted July 25, 2018)
Just weeks after completion of major playground upgrades at Cowling Park, the project’s signature fund-raiser is returning to the London Rib & Jazz Festival for a second year.
The Superhero Run, Walk and Roll 5K will be held at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4. Proceeds from the family-friendly race benefit Access Cowling, a London Community Organization-backed initiative to build an accessible and inclusive playground at the park.
Access Cowling began in 2016 when the Hagmeier family of London tragically lost their 7-month-old son, Noah. The family, which also has a son with cerebral palsy, provided seed money to kick off the project to build the playground as a memorial for their youngest son.
It grew into a five-phase, $400,000 project that was completed ahead of schedule due to donations from community members, grants, and state funding.
“Obviously, for our family, everything about this project has been personal,” said Jennifer Hagmeier, Noah’s mother.
The third, fourth and fifth phases of the project were installed this summer by volunteers, including London City Schools staff members and students, Madison Health staff members, and employees from Ohio Edison, Target, London Fire Department and Stanley Electric.
“To have had the help and support of so many members of the community to build something amazing in Noah’s memory—where kids with special needs and typical kids can play together—has been amazing,” Hagmeier said. “We are incredibly grateful.”
The park is unique to central Ohio and includes several play structures and slides with climbing features, activity panels, a music garden, swings, and a “Zip Cruise” zip line, among other items. The space also boasts multi-purpose paths to the shelter house and play area to allow easier access for those in wheelchairs and strollers.
Money raised from this year’s race will go toward installing additional paths to span the entire Cowling Park property, as well as improvements to other city parks, said Amy Rees, president of the London Community Organization.
Hagmeier said the superhero race theme was chosen because “every child should feel like a superhero.”
Volunteers dressed as superheroes will direct race traffic. Every child 10 and younger will receive a superhero cape and mask. All participants will receive a race T-shirt and a medal. The race will finish before noon in the heart of the festival, just in time for lunch.
Register for the race at itsyourrace.com (search for The Superhero Run, Walk and Roll 5K), or pick up a form at the mayor’s office, 6 E. Second St. Cost is $25.