Superhero-themed 5K run raises awareness for autism

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Gulf Coast School for Autism held a superhero-themed 5K at Frank Brown Park on Saturday.

Event chairwoman Koryn Patterson said many participants in the event ran in honor of a family member or friend with autism.

“We hosted this event to raise funds for our music and arts programs at our school, but we also hosted this event because it’s World Autism Awareness Month,” Patterson said. “We’re advocating and educating the community on autism.”

Runners had the option to run or walk either one mile or five kilometers for the event.

“We are supporting a good cause by coming out and doing this run,” Patterson said. “It’s not just about the run, and it’s not just about the organization… It’s about healthy mind, healthy body.”

The event also showcased the school and provided information for different resources and programs for people with autism.

Katrin Patterson, the owner of GCSA, said the school has many resources for people of all ages with autism.

“I think that the importance is the awareness,” she said. “We have a good, unique program at our school.”

Many of the runners, kids and pets alike, donned their capes and superhero masks to take on the challenge of the run.

Participants were treated to cold brew coffees for a boost of energy after their run.

“We’re so happy that we’re getting to a point where we can start being together again,” Patterson said. “Events like this are truly crucial for our community.”

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