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Charity fun run has 135 participants feeling the need for speed -- and pizza

A runner reaches for a slice at the 2nd annual Need a Pizza and Beer Run.
A runner reaches for a slice at the 2nd annual Need a Pizza and Beer Run.
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It's not eastern Iowa's only fun run. Not by a long shot.

It's also not the only one run for charity. No way.

But you can probably say it's the only one that has participants grabbing a slice at the starting line.

"Hello everybody, welcome to the 2nd annual Need a Pizza and Beer Run put on the PR Foundation, hosted by Need Pizza," says Bob Wagner, co-owner of Need Pizza in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Sunday around 135 racers, including 35 kids, lined up for a little lunch and a light jog.

The Need a Pizza and Beer Run has everything you could need: lots of people coming together for a good cause, to start.

"Wherever we raise our money, we leave that money in the community, so everything we raise today will stay in your community," says Robert Kabakoff, co-founder of the PR Foundation. "Today we're honoring Critter Crusaders and Freedom Foundation."

And pizza.

Wagner started cooking up this idea three years ago.

"Just brainstorming and talking about good ways to raise money, we talked about a road race and talked about doing a fun run," Wagner says of he and Kabakoff's plan. "Just kind of grew into this thing: let's eat a slice of pizza, let's do a beer run and we just meshed them together."

Talk about eat and run.

"It's a little different this year, it's a little more challenging," Wagner announced to this year's runners. "Last year you ate your pizza before your time started, this year you eat your pizza after your time's started. So it's kind of like those reality shows where we don't do the same thing every year, let you practice. We're not going to have a happy hour before the rose ceremony, we're just going to go into the rose ceremony."

Lots of different strategies on display, from the pizza folders and hunchers to the little chompers.

"Eat, eat, eat," someone cheers on a young pizza lover. "Go buddy go!"

Some people even had to groove through the chew.

"It's so hot!" a woman fans her mouth.

You aren't done after you scarf that slice and run a lap. It is a pizza AND beer run, after all. That means chugging a beer (non-alcoholic or root varieties available) before circling the block again.

"We wanted it to be a model anyone could have fun with," Kabakoff says. "You could walk it, walk your dog, jog, whatever. Just to be able to be involved and, you know, have a good community event."

The best part, though, is filling a bigger need.

"Last year we were able to raise $4,000," Wagner says. "We easily doubled that just with doubling our participants and a lot of in-kind donations."

"I would imagine we're going to raise close to $10,000," Kavakoff says.

Both run organizers say they want to continue building up this tradition and increasing how much they can donate to local non-profits.

Thanks to our Pay It Forward sponsors, Copyworks and Carlos O'Kellys, $100 will go toward the PR Foundation.

"The more people that come out, the better it is for the community," Wagner says.

That's just good fun, any way you slice it.

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