Runners met with hugs in annual 5k, benefits Special Olympics

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BELVIDERE, Ill (WIFR) -- Nearly 150 runners spent their sun-filled Sunday running for a cause in Belvidere. The Hug an Athlete 5k kicked of it's seventh annual run benefitting the Special Olympics program in the Belvidere Park District.

Courtesy Belvidere Park District

"We get tons of return runners. The love the hugs at the end of the race, they do say it's a one of a kind event, you know we get a lot of runners that are super fast an their like we come into the finish line and it's just we cross the finish line, but here they get to have hugs," says park district's Katie Humphrey.

As runners male it to the finish line they are met with hugs, high fives or waives. All the proceeds go toward funding the program throughout the year.

Runners received awards at the end of the race, including a spirit award and turtle award to celebrate everyone that ran for the cause.