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262 days until the Big Event.

Kickoff to Kinnick 2020: A Virtual Affair


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Kickoff to Kinnick has been a major contributor to the Dance Marathon tote board since its beginning in 2013. Running through the streets of Iowa City, past the Children’s Hospital, and to a finish line on the field at Kinnick has drawn hundreds, if not thousands, of participants every year. This year, despite the pandemic, has been no differentbut not without a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

The majority of the planning was done by Maddy Coyne and Brylee Yirkovsky, of the Development committee, who served as the Dance Marathon liaisons on the Kickoff to Kinnick board. Their job included coordinating with the Kickoff to Kinnick board to plan the virtual 5K race. “Having the race virtual allowed us more opportunities in planning than if it would have been in-person,” Brylee said. “They gave Maddy and I a lot of independence to create and do things on our own. Whatever ideas we had were approved and then put into action. For example, I emailed a ton of local businesses about advertising for Kickoff to Kinnick on their own virtual platforms and the support was incredible.”

However, Brylee says that building a social media presence for Kickoff to Kinnick was tougher than she expected. Strava, an exercise app to help connect runners, bikers, and swimmers with virtual races, was a huge help. By posting the Kickoff to Kinnick Virtual 5K on the app, over 70,000 people from all across the country were able to participate in the challenge and learn more about what Dance Marathon is doing right here in Iowa City. Even if they didn’t register with Kickoff to Kinnick, they were still learning more about Dance Marathon’s mission and how they could help support our kiddos and families at Stead.

Aside from the Strava participants, almost 1,000 participants registered and ran the virtual Kickoff to Kinnick in Iowa City. Maddy and Brylee provided routes for the runners, who also received a K2K shirt and medal in the mail. “On race day, we tried to do what we could to make it feel like the normal Kickoff to Kinnick, and pictures flooded in. Seeing people still so passionate about DM, even with a virtual 5K, has been amazing,” Brylee said.

By: Lilly Reis, Public Relations Committee, DM27