Donut Dash 2-Miler Fundraiser
A 3K Fundraiser Benefiting PACE Center for Girls
Volunteering for the Treasure Coast International Film Society has lead to many new experiences and opportunities for me. For example, during a meeting with Keiser University we learned about the Donut Dash 2-Miler – a fundraiser 3K held at Keiser that benefits PACE Center for Girls, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young women achieve academic excellence through mental health counseling and therapy. As it so happened, Jake Sanders’s mother, Sue Sanders, coordinates the event.
Jake, from the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance, invited us to join the event as volunteers, allowing us to promote the Summer ’22 Film Series at the event, which is also in partnership with the Cultural Alliance. We agreed to be marshals and table hosts for the event. It was a double win for us because my partner also works for PACE as a Junior Systems Administrator and I have donated original art to their cause before (See, “Be Boun-TEA-Ful – Acrylic Painting”.)
Donut Dash Photographer Needed
Days before the event, the volunteer photographer declared being unable to attend. Jake referred Sue to me, and asked if I’d mind being the photographer for the event. The Donut Dash was to be held at 6:30 PM, another nighttime event that I don’t have a particularly great kit for as I learned from shooting little league games. When I take a gig, especially a photography one, I like knowing I am adequately prepared to provide the best that I can. Knowing the conditions of this run, I wasn’t sure that I could. But as my partner pointed out, some photos are better than no photos. So I agreed to photograph the event.
Prep and Registration
When we arrived, I was able to snap some photos of the setup and prep of the event, including the teams behind the curtains for pulling it all together. PACE, TCI Film Society, Orange Theory, and an assortment of family and friends ran about the Keiser lobby preparing for the event.
A thunderstorm brewed on the horizon leading everyone to question whether or not the run would happen, but thankfully it stayed far enough away to let us continue.
Runner’s Arrive Ready to Dash
As the runner’s arrived, I began snapping photos. I was wearing a TCI Film Festival T-Shirt, but had no identification as the event photographer. In my past experiences, people tend to feel put off being photographed, especially when they think the photographer is some random guy taking pictures for himself. This even was no different, and I was no less awkward.
Despite it, I managed to glimpse some runners in the preparation or in their groups chatting about their expectations, best times, or if they should eat a donut during the run or after. It’s called the Donut Dash for a reason.
Oh, The Kids Too!
Some of the best photos were of the littlest runners. Before the main run, a special kids-only run took place. Many of the kids that were registered to run in the main event, also ran in the kids event. What energy!
Some kids love being in front of the camera, while some others shy away completely. Either way, the expressions on these kids faces are perfect.
The Main Event
The main event featured a decent number of participants in various age groups and at various fitness levels. If I hadn’t been the photographer or a volunteer in general, I’d have been running myself. The run was nearly canceled due to a thunder storm on the outskirts of Port St. Lucie, but luckily it passed us by and lowered the air temp around us as it did.
During the Donut Dash, runners are given the option of getting two Dixie Cream Donuts halfway through the run or at the awards table at the end of the event. For anyone who doesn’t know, Dixie Cream Donuts are best known for their large, amazingly glazed donuts that are absolutely addictive. I highly encourage you to try one if you’ve never had before, they’re a Treasure Coast local’s favorite.
At The Finish Line
The best place to be was definitely at the end of the run – the finish line. There, all the excitement and happiness each participant felt as they crossed that line and completed the challenge was palpable. I tried to capture as many participants as possible because this was the moment that it was truly all about.
The Donut Dash Awards
The award ceremony for the Donut Dash was quick, so I didn’t get to photograph as many participants as I’d have liked. Also, award recipients were called up and left from view many times before I could snap their picture, so just know that there were many recipients and I only captured a few.
Next Up, CampOUT (July 16 – July 24)
For my next photography gig, I will be volunteering for Florida’s first LGBTQ+ Camp for Kids, ages 10-17, July 16-24, CampOUT. It has a 150 camper limit, and last I heard they’ve already signed up 100 campers. If you’re interested in your child attending this camp in Florida, please check out their website: https://www.campoutflorida.com.
I’m very excited to be a part of this and see this an another opportunity to prepare myself for this year’s greatest challenge, my first year teaching middle school. More on that soon…