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School project grows into 5K for Camp Good Days

The 5K race scheduled for Sunday in Delaware Park has an interesting story behind it.

The race – which benefits Camp Good Days & Special Times – evolved as a City Honors High School project for 16-year-old Madeline Caywood of Buffalo.

It began last fall when Maddie, a sophomore, was considering ideas for a project in the school’s Middle Years Program, which teaches students the skills to be active, responsible citizens in today’s changing world.

After Maddie – a member of the school’s crew program who runs to stay in shape – ran a 5K, she decided to take it another step.

“What if I host a 5K and donate the money to charity?” Maddie asked her mother, Lisa.

“You should do it,” her mother said.

So she did.

As her project, Maddie organized “Your Own 5K,” a race that allows participants to run in honor of someone special to them.

Maddie and her father, David, measured the distance around Delaware Park’s Ring Road. She went to City Hall to get the necessary permits. She solicited sponsors, tapped volunteers, hung fliers and approached Camp Good Days about the idea.

All the proceeds will benefit the summer camp for children and families touched by cancer.

“Maddie called me herself and said, ‘What do you think about this?’ ” said Lisa Donato Booz, regional director of Camp Good Days.

“I was really happy she wanted to do this and took the initiative,” Donato Booz said. “She’s a very mature young lady and very professional about it. She’s doing a lot of work and giving it 110 percent.”

Maddie said her goal is to get several hundred runners participating in Sunday’s event, but she would be happy with 50.

Tackling a 5K as her project was a good learning experience – and a stressful one.

“I had no idea that this much goes into planning something like this,” Maddie said. “But through the process, I really enjoyed event planning, and maybe I can do this in the future.”

The race will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday – rain or shine – on Delaware Park’s Ring Road, near Nottingham Terrace and Meadow Road in front of the Sweet Spot Juicery.

Cost is $20 per runner.

For more details or to register online, check out and click on “Your Own 5K.”

Registration begins at 9:15 a.m. Walk-ups are welcome.