Runners participate in a previous Dasche for the Stache 5K in downtown Gadsden. Photo courtesy of Dave Hyatt.
By Katie Bohannon, News Editor
While November signifies men’s health awareness month nationwide and abroad, one annual event generates knowledge, understanding and advocacy for men a little closer to home.
Dasche for the Stache 5K celebrates its ninth year bright and early on Saturday, November 6, with the community collecting outside Blackstone Pub & Eatery in downtown Gadsden to run toward a finish line fostering an incredible cause.
The concept for Dasche for the Stache sparked several years ago at a Gadsden Runner’s Club board meeting. In 2013, several physicians from Clinical Urology Associates attended that meeting to discuss their concerns regarding the lack of support for issues affecting men’s health, expressing their desire to witness the development of local fundraising efforts to educate the public. As they spoke, one original board member felt compelled to join the crusade.
Moved to act and inspired to evoke change in Etowah County, Christi Robinson proved instrumental in the establishment of an event that illustrated those physicians’ initial hope for their community – resulting in the Dashche for the Stache 5K. Though the event began small, its recognition throughout the community soon soared, with local and out-of-town runners gathering on Broad Street to demonstrate their belief in Dasche’s mission.
Proceeds raised from Dasche’s first three years benefitted the Movember Foundation, an alliance of global charity partners that encourage education and assistance for men’s health, focusing on illnesses such as testicular and prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. While the Movember Foundation’s mission coincided with Dasche’s efforts, Robinson and other founding race coordinators felt strongly that money raised should directly impact males in Etowah County.
In 2018, Dasche organizers discovered a non-profit organization that aligned with their purpose, mirrored their passion and ensured that all contributions affected men residing in Etowah County – Man Up Gadsden. Formed to fill the void of resources for men’s health, Man Up Gadsden serves its community as a coalition of medical personnel, concerned parents and advocates who recognize the importance of education, prevention and support surrounding male-related illnesses.
Raising awareness for specific concerns such as prostate and testicular cancers, Man Up Gadsden provides beneficial access to life-saving information, emphasizing early detection and screenings. Man Up Gadsden hosts “blue rallies” countywide, where co-founder Dr. John Pirani discusses these subjects to 3,000 male students each year.
Emerging as the first non-profit solely dedicated to men’s health in Gadsden, Man Up Gadsden shines as a beacon of hope for families, connecting men with physicians, scheduling appointments, offering emotional support, preparing patients for treatment and providing financial assistance for all aspects of a man’s life affected by a cancer diagnosis.
Robinson shared that her involvement with Dasche surged seven years ago when she and her husband, Chris, assumed the role of race director for the event. Robinson’s passion and unwavering commitment to the purpose behind the race reiterated a personal experience Chris underwent prior, having endured and overcome male-related cancers. While Chris is now healthy, Robinson remembers a time when her husband needed an advocate himself – her determination to aid others echoing her compassionate and philanthropic nature that parallels the heart of so many in Etowah County, who race toward a better tomorrow with every supportive step.
“I’m going to be a champion for a need that is not met,” said Robinson. “It’s a really fun event and the community really loves it, but it’s also important to keep remembering the mission [that it is for] young men in our community. For us, the importance of keeping it going each year, and making sure the community gets behind it each year is because of what it serves and what we’re here to do.”
This year’s Dasche for the Stache 5K begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 6 in front of Blackstone Pub & Eatery in downtown Gadsden. Race day registration is $30, while pre-registration is $25 and ends November 5. Gadsden Runners Club and Anniston Runners Club members receiving a two-dollar discount. The top three overall male and female 5K participants will receive cash prizes, with prizes distributed to the top age group winners, separated by five-year increments. Awards for the best “stache” and mustache-themed attire will be given. All participants are invited to the post-race party, hosted by Blackstone.
“Just to say that the efforts [you’ve made] have been able to help [men and families in the community] is certainly one of the biggest things,” said Robinson. “I’ve directed lots of races and this is definitely my favorite one.”