OGDEN -- The new cavemen and dinosaurs theme did the trick.
Weber Human Services Prevention held its first Yabba Dabba Doo Run on Friday night, part of a series of events aimed at raising funds to highlight programs dedicated to drug and alcohol prevention and recovery.
Jennifer Hogge, prevention coordinator for Weber and Morgan counties, said her organization has been holding a 5k for the past three years, but decided to change things up this year.
"Prevention has been doing a 5k for about three years. But, this year we decided to join forces with Recovery Day. We created the two-day event; having a dinner and silent auction, then the run, and then Saturday we have events at the Ogden Amphitheater with booths and community activities, free lunch, poker run, and all kinds of fun things.
"Try to just bring awareness that prevention works, and that we need these prevention programs in our communities to help our kids not engage in underage drinking and not engage in drug use so that they don't go down the road to addiction."
In previous years, the Prevention 5k drew between 120 and 130 participants and raised an average of $4,000 for prevention services. This year, by joining forces with
Recovery Day and employing a fun caveman and dinosaur theme, the race had 233 participants pre-register and Hogge said she expects the final number of participants to be around 300 once day-of registrants are counted.
Hogge explained that the course started on the Ogden River Parkway, looped through the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, ran around the Big D Sports Park, went underneath the bridge lit with black lights, ran to the top of the MTC Learning Park, and then returned on the same course to the Dinosaur Park. There, costume prizes were awarded at the end of the race.
Donated construction boom lights illuminated the way for the runners. Solar lights were also installed along the pathway and runners were given glow-in-the-dark necklaces at check-in.
"The Dinosaur Park is lit up. We've got the dinosaurs with lights on them and they have the ambient music that has the dinosaur roars," Hogge said. "We're giving awards for the best costume, the scariest costume, and the cutest costume. Then we have a bunch of smaller, fun awards for who traveled the farthest or who has the funniest shoes; just a bunch of fun things like that to try to engage the community."
Leslie Denning, of Layton, said the draw of Dinosaur Park was a big reason she and her family came out. "We like the dino museum and the park. We thought it was a cool idea to do it at night and dress up and just thought it would be a fun thing to come out and support."
Denning's husband, Tyler, agreed. "It does go for a good cause, helping keep kids with the drug prevention and alcohol prevention, so it's always good to be doing it for a good cause and have some fun."
Natalie Burrell, of Plain City, was dressed in an impressive Wilma Flintstone costume. When asked what she thought about the race, she said, "It's for a good cause, so that's good. We're happy to be here."
Burrell's son, Brodie, 7, was anxious to share his thoughts about the race, but was conservative with his answers. When asked how he felt about the race, what his favorite part of the park was, and what his favorite dinosaur was, he answered, quite succinctly, "Good. The dinosaurs. T-Rex."
Hogge said she hoped the runners enjoyed themselves and that the Yabba Dabba Doo run helps to spread her organization's message.
"We want to communicate that treatment works. We have effective programs that work and people do recover and we want to make sure that the community understands that just because somebody suffers from addiction, doesn't mean that they can't recover and lead productive and successful lives."