The 5K run started with one school when a handful of students decided to organize the event and raise money for cancer research.

Student council members at Greenwood Community High School wanted a way to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

They organized a 5K run, marked out a route around their school and raised less than $1,000 for blood cancer.

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That wasn’t enough, so they doubled down and added more schools to their cause.

Now Greenwood students want to make the fundraiser for cancer research an annual event. Residents of all ages are invited to the Color Run 5K on April 16 at Greenwood Community High School.

They wanted other high schools in Johnson County to help organize it in an attempt to overcome cross county rivalries and show that the county is really one community, Greenwood senior Tori Harper said.

Student councils from Franklin Community High School and Center Grove High School have joined the effort and the student organizers hope at least 100 runners and walkers will participate.

“Why not show that everyone is involved and wants to be a part of something great,” Harper said.

Greenwood’s color run started last school year.

Most of the school’s other philanthropic fundraising went toward Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Harper said.

But she had lost an aunt to a blood cancer and decided that she wanted to help out the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with a fundraiser.

“That is why I wanted to be the head of it,” she said.

And color runs, where people get colored chalk thrown on them at checkpoints in the race, were popular and would appeal to high school students, she said.

Franklin Community High School conducted a run last fall for Riley. Other central Indiana nonprofits have conducted color run fundraisers too.

“Our biggest problem last year was so few people knew about it,” Harper said.

Adding other high schools to their efforts was a way to unify the county and get more people interested in participating, she said.

“I thought other high schools would like it as well,” Harper said.

Now while Greenwood student council members are doing some of the duties as the host school, such as mapping out the route, other student councils are trying to drum up support in Franklin and the Center Grove area.

Franklin students have been plastering posters and announcements on local businesses, at the library and even at the middle school to try to get Franklin residents interested in the run, Franklin senior Madeline Daily said.

Students at Franklin know classmates and neighbors who are fighting blood cancer and wanted to find a cause that would allow them to help, she said.

Part of growing the run is opening it up to the community and inviting people of all ages to participate, Center Grove senior Sabrina Maristela said.

Students are learning how to market to people younger and older than them and learning to conduct a fundraiser that isn’t just done internally in school, she said.

“I am used to catering to my age group, it is different to get the whole community,” Maristela said.

A run, planned by students from multiple county schools will help to foster the relationship that the county as a whole is a large community, Daily said.

“This is another way to give back to the people who gave to us,” she said.

Franklin’s student council has also championed other causes, such as Riley, with a dance marathon and some students were looking for other causes to get involved in, Franklin senior Maggie Davenport said.

“It is something different, it is not just a run,” she said.

If you go

What: Color Run

When: 8 a.m. April 16

Where: Greenwood Community High School.

Register by going to

April 5 is the deadline.

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.