Runners follow the rainbow in colorful Emerald City 5K


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Cordell Rolle, the 2017 board chair, and volunteer Kathi Ridner dressed up for the 2017 Emerald City 5K in Viera.

Photo By Jill Blue

Like Dorothy of Oz fame, the folks at Family Promise of Brevard know there is no place like home.

The organization, dedicated to eradicating family homelessness on the Space Coast, is using its upcoming Emerald City 5K to raise both funds and awareness for the plight of displaced families.

“We’re on the same path as Dorothy, because we all need help from our friends,” said Tara Pagliarini, Family Promise’s executive director.

More than a thousand Brevard families currently are without permanent housing. The Emerald City 5K, now in its third year, brings the community together in Viera to help improve the situation.

Approximately 500 runners participated last year. Pagliarini thinks more will participate this year.

“We hope we can reach 1,000,” she said.

The evening race starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1 from the Church at Viera. It is located at 9005 N. Wickham Road. Registration and packet pickup will be from 10 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Running Zone is orchestrating the race, which costs $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger. While running this yellow brick road might not get you to Oz, it might deliver a particularly nice bauble — a $2,000 emerald donated by Wesche Jewelers.

“Holly Wesche values our organization and didn’t hesitate to say yes when we approached her for a donation,” Pagliarini said.

Every participant will receive a key to the Emerald City that might win them the emerald. To encourage teamwork, a team of four will receive two keys per person. The largest team in the pack will receive three keys per person.

About half of the runners get into the spirit of Oz by dressing as their favorite character. Who is the most popular?

“We definitely get a lot of Dorothys,” Pagliarini said.

The event includes prizes for best costume, best team costumes and fastest costume.

With a vision of seeing every family in Brevard in safe, affordable housing, Family Promise of Brevard provides homelessness prevention, emergency shelter and aftercare service to equip families with resources necessary to maintain permanent housing.

“We are with families every step of the way to help them get back on their feet,” Pagliarini said.

For information on Family Promise of Brevard and the Emerald City 5K, go to familypromiseofbrevard.org.