Brenda Gibbons, Tammy Dougan, and Katye Jones were the superhero directors who started the first Superhero 5K in 2013 after the son of Tammy’s co-worker was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The race was an effort to raise funds for Carter Nuckols, son of former Russellville Police Officer Michael Nuckols. Carter’s campaign was “Hero’s for Carter” and heroes are exactly what we got- superheroes!
The River Valley community came together and made the race a success with nearly 500 participants, making the Superhero 5K Russellville’s biggest race ever at that time! An astounding number of volunteers made the event possible. The organization was able to donate over $8200 to the Nuckols family to help with their medical and travel expenses.
Due to the overwhelming community support, Brenda and Tammy decided to make the race an annual event, honoring a different child in the community each year. Their goal is to raise awareness of child cancer and to continue bringing the community together! That is when Katye joined their team.
Since the first year, the organization has become a 501(c)(3) and have helped numerous local families with a child affected by cancer or another serious illness or injury. These real-life superheroes were able to successfully host the River Valley Superhero 5K for 10 years. They have donated over $105,000 to local families since 2013!
In 2022 Brenda, Tammy, and Katye decided it was time to hang up their 5K capes. When deciding who should pick up the mantle of this race, Tammy started talking with Krystle Manning and Sarah Payton about taking over the Superhero 5K. Krystle and Sarah are both involved with the River Valley Public Safety Cadets. The Cadets are a group of teenagers who are interested in working in the First Responder field. These elite teenagers and young adults are hard workers and strive to make a difference in their community, exactly what the original ladies are all about.
After seeing the community support and dedication to this race, Krystle and Sarah couldn’t say no, even if they wanted. Krystle will serve as the Director with Sarah as Assistant Director. Two other ladies will be on the board of directors. Cristina Newman is the Operations Director and Chavi Koch-Case is the Cadet Director. Krystle says, “It is an honor to serve this community by hosting this race. We look forward to partnering with every supporter to help these families. We are so excited to host this race for years to come!”