The fourth annual Seeds of Hope Moonlight 5K and FunRun took place in downtown Sherman Saturday benefiting the Grayson County Crisis Center. Participants were provided reflective bibs and encouraged to wear bright clothing for the nighttime run. All proceeds go toward the center’s mission of providing services and safety for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Austin College professor and event participant Renee Countryman formed a group with other Austin College professors to help promote awareness for the Grayson County Crisis Center.

“It’s the biggest fundraiser for the Grayson County Crisis Center every year,” Countryman said. “And I think that anything that raises money to help protect families that are victims of violence or sexual assault is important.”

Despite initial registrations being lower than previous years, Crisis Center board President Asa Jessee said more than 100 additional registrations came in last minute for the run. With the last minute sign-ups, Jessee believes it to be a record-breaking year for the event.

“The event we feel helps raise awareness for the Crisis Center,” Jessee said. “This raises critical funds to help continue our services. Most people are aware of what we do with the domestic violence and the shelter and all that. But just a year and a half ago, we launched a program which provides sexual assault response teams in this area. Before victims had to drive all the way to Plano or McKinney and now we address those.” The center’s new sexual assault response team has been called out 68 times in their first year.

On Saturday, although a delay in the train schedule forced a last-minute change to the runners’ route, spirits were high at the festive event.

Event participant Jose Montano said he and his wife have participated in a 5K every month this year.

“It’s been our goal,” Montano said. “We’re on month nine. And we’re also here to support the Crisis Center. I think it’s important to do. Domestic violence and things like that are such a big deal nowadays, which is a little unbelievable. So we want to support them as well. It’s a fitness goal for us, plus it’s something that we really like to do. We like to run and all the festivities are a lot of fun.”

Participants dawned brightly colored clothes and flashing lights while live music was performed by Timmy and the Naturals. Craft beer was provided by 903 Brewers and hot dogs were grilled at the event. An awards ceremony followed the event honoring the top three finishers in each age group.

Event participant Maria Boren said it was her first time running in a night race.

“I’m excited about it,” Boren said. “It’s perfect weather. It’s definitely something we want to support, and we want to be there for our community in any capacity that we can. Any little bit helps. It’s a bonus that it’s something that we get to do that we enjoy doing.”