Cold temperatures accompanied by sleet and freezing rain did not sway dedicated supporters of local law enforcement and other first responders during the Heroes for Hope Race on Saturday.
One hundred and sixty participants ran in support of the race, which also raises money for the Children's Advocacy Alliance.
In its seventh year, the Heroes for Hope Race honored local first responders during its morning race along College Avenue on Saturday.
"The first responders are our heroes for this year's Heroes for Hope," CAA Outreach and Marketing Coordinator Leia Smith previously said. "[S]uperheroes we see on TV are wonderful, but we need to take a moment and appreciate the men and women who serve the kids in our community everyday."
The day featured three separate races: a 10K that began at 8 a.m., a 5K that began at 8:30 a.m. and a 1.31K superhero run.
David Hogue, who serves as the Children's Advocacy Alliance (CAA) board president, said he was glad to see the morning wintery mix of sleet and freezing rain did not discourage local supporters and runners from participating in Saturday's event.
"I am amazed with the people who are loyal enough to come out and support our cause," Hogue, who ran alongside the young runners who dressed as superheroes, said of Saturday's participation. "I'm honored for the support we have received."
The Heroes for Hope Race is an event geared toward raising money for CAA — an organization that provides support to abused and neglected children, offering a number of services at the advocacy center.
The advocacy alliance works as a safe place for abused children to tell their stories. The CAA is a nonprofit organization that umbrellas over the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Court Appointed Special Services (CASA) of the 20th Judicial District. It provides multiple services at one location and works with children until they find a safe, permanent home.
The race incorporates a central theme of being a superhero for each child in need that states: "Every child needs a hero, but an abused child needs a superhero."
The Conway Police Department and Conway Fire Department attended the event to cheer on the participants as they raced to raise money for local children.
"We are happy to be out here supporting a good cause," Conway firefighter Ty Ledbetter said. "With the weather like this, it's surprising but I'm glad to see such a great turnout."
Ledbetter's 8-year-old daughter, Adeline, also participated in the fundraiser race.
Adeline ran the 10K, noting she had fun getting out supporting the cause despite the sleet falling on her as she ran.
North Central Arkansas CAA Executive Director Tess Fletcher said she was thankful of the support and dedication each participant showed during Saturday's event.
"We are impressed of the dedication of the runners who came out and appreciate their support of our mission," she said, noting some participants signed up to race on race day, despite the cold, wet weather.
Four-year-old Turner Christner, dressed as Iron Man, ran alongside his dad, Keith, who was dressed as Batman, and CPD officer Dellywn Elkins during the superhero run.
Turner's father said the event is a great way to get children involved in a helpful cause.
"It's a great cause and a fun race," Keith said. "[Turner] loved the superhero run and had a great time today."