Monster-themed 5k benefits seniors

Published 9:00 am Monday, October 12, 2015

The 7th Annual Picayune Piney Woods Monster Dash 5k Run/ Walk and 1 Mile Family Fun Run has a fresh Halloween theme this year created by Tonya Cialona, this year’s race committee chairperson.

“I came up with the theme because it’s on Halloween day and I wanted to make it fun and include the children and families in the run,” Cialona said. “I wanted to make it known to the runners that their children are welcome to come and enjoy the day. The senior center is kind of a forgotten place and I wanted to see families come out and support the senior center.”

The one mile run starts at 8 a.m. and the five kilometer run starts at 8:30 a.m. The  route starts and finishes at the Senior Center of South Pearl River County located behind WalMart. Organizers are still taking registrations. Pre registration is $20 and registration the day of the race is $25.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s a beautiful, peaceful route and it will give our community a chance to see where the senior center is. We want to make them aware of it and have a good time,” Cialona


Mandy Boudreaux, an administrative assistant at the senior center said they will have costume contests for people who dress up and will provide a pancake breakfast for $5 a person that will also include coffee, water, bananas and oranges.

Darlene C. Adams, the executive director of the senior center, said the race first started six years ago because the senior center needed to find a new fundraiser for the area to encourage fitness. Carol Fitzwilliam and her son, who was a decorated runner for University of Loyola in New Orleans, chaired the race for the first six years until Cialona took the reigns this year.

Adams said she brought the idea to the board of directors for the senior center, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is donor-funded. The race is one of the many fundraisers held there, she said.

Adams says she is looking to use the proceeds from the race for maintenance and new expenditures for the senior center such as a popcorn machine, karaoke machine and a flat-screen television.

“They are excited every time we purchase something for their enjoyment—it’s like Christmas for them when we purchase an item. We need the community’s support for our seniors,” Adams said.