BILLINGS — People are invited to sign up for the annual RiverStone Health virtual 5K Scrub Run on Sept. 12 to benefit RiverStone Reads, a program that gives out free books to kids at their doctor's appointment.
“As a physician, we try to take care of the entire patient. We recognize that the development of language skills are also a development of thinking skills. So we can help a child develop an interest in reading, develop those skills in reading and have a better opportunity to succeed in school,” said Dr. James Guyer, associate director at the RiverStone Health Montana Family Medicine Residency.
The Scrub Run is put on by the RiverStone Health Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the clinic. Last year, physicians with Montana Family Medicine Residency gave out more than 700 books to area kids.
This year, RiverStone staff want to expand the program to give more books to the community.
“If we can give every child a book, it will keep these kids that are somewhat disadvantaged on the right track to do well in school and to succeed," Guyer said.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scrub Run has been shifted to a virtual format. Last year, the race started and finished at South Park.
People can sign up online, pick up their commemorative t-shirt and run the five kilometers anywhere they please.
"Wherever you go to log those miles, you can file it and help our cause to help these kids develop their vocabulary, develop their educational skills and succeed," Guyer said.
While the event is officially scheduled for Sept. 12, participants have until Sept. 20 to submit their race times online.
Dr. Chris Baumert is a regular at the race and is a physician for the Montana Family Medicine Residency.
“I think it’s a great program. We give books out to kids from six months old and on. They may not be able to read it right away or tell the words or pictures right away, but they know how to put it in their mouth and they know how to start interacting with books at a young age," Baumert said.
Baumert regularly reads to his one-year-old son Leif and would have liked to bring him to South Park for the race this year. With the race being virtual, Baumert and his son will take a different path to log the distance.
"I’ve run it myself and hoped to run it in person with Leif this year. We’ll be doing it around our house this year, so I encourage everyone to come out and run in a safe place away from traffic and do it in a way that they are keeping safe,” Baumert said.
A $38 fee pays for race entry, t-shirt and enters the participant into a drawing for several prizes provided by local businesses. Not to mention the knowledge that participants will help a local child on their way to becoming lifelong readers.
“Kids reading is probably one of the most important things for them to grow and develop and become successful in their lives and be able to get the education they want and get successful jobs. It’s a highly important skill," Baumert said.
The final day to sign up is Sept 12. To find the form, visit the race page on RiverStoneHealth.org by clicking here.