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‘Mustache Dash’ 5K run Saturday a fun way to address a serious issue

Kendal Grady, age 9, looks like she’s ready to participate in the “Mustache Dash” Saturday morning in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)
Kendal Grady, age 9, looks like she’s ready to participate in the “Mustache Dash” Saturday morning in Charles City. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob,

You don’t have to have a mustache to participate, but it helps.

The Fourth Annual Sexual Assault Awareness 5K “You Must Ask” Dash — or “Mustache Dash,” as it is referred to, will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Riverfront Park Boat Ramp at the 1200 block of Riverside Drive in Charles City.

Citizens are encouraged to “get their mustaches on” and walk/run in this family-friendly event designed to encourage community conversations about sexual assault and prevention.

The event is sponsored by the Floyd County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which is made up of members from the Charles City Police Department, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, the Crisis Intervention Service, the Floyd County Attorney’s Office and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) at the Floyd County Memorial Hospital.

“The purpose of the 5K is to try to bring some awareness, to try to get people talking, and make them aware of our organization and how they can contact somebody if they needed to,” said Janelle Herrmann, victim/witness coordinator at the Floyd County Attorney’s Office. Hermann’s job is to help victims of crime through the court process.

Floyd County SART was formed in 2012, and consists of specially trained professionals who provide a community-coordinated response to sexual assault.

“It’s a multi-faceted approach to helping victims of sexual assault,” said Herrmann.

The Mustache Dash event is a “walk/run,” so people can compete or simply participate in a more leisurely way if they like. Herrmann said anyone is welcome.

There will be a photo booth set up for people to get their pictures taken with mustaches on. The whole event is no charge, no advanced registration is necessary, and there will be T-shirts for sale. Herrmann said there will also be snacks and prizes at the site Saturday, as well as medals for first, second and third place for women, men and youth.

There will also be free mustaches.

Hermann said that the idea of the mustaches is a play on words. The words “must ask” as it applies to sexual assault sound a bit like the word “mustache.” The mustache pun adds some fun and brings some attention to a matter that is anything but fun.

“It’s a serious topic, one that people don’t like to talk about,” Herrmann said. “Having the mustaches gets people’s attention, and brings awareness. The ‘mustache/must ask’ part of it just kind of went together.”

Last year, tutus were added to the mustaches, and there was a contest with tutu judging, and Herrmann said some people had a lot of fun with that. Herrmann said that about 25-30 people participated last year, and she’d like to see a bigger turnout this year.

T-shirts will be available for $16, by calling Artwear at 641-228-1391. Anyone with questions about the event can contact Herrmann at 641-228-7571.

Event sponsors include Tom Rouse State Farm Insurance, Floyd County Mutual Insurance, Hairstyling Center, Shankland Insurance, First Security Bank, Floyd County Medical Center, Kwik Trip, Casey’s, The Insurance Office and Ace Hardware.

A sexual assault survivor in Floyd County can access SART services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 641-228-0015, reporting the assault to the hospital emergency room, or calling 911 to contact law enforcement.