Get the blood pumping

Candy hearts have long been the theme of Valentine’s Day, but this weekend the organ itself will be the focus for Golden Key International Honour Society members.

The society will be holding their first annual Valentine’s Day 5K run/walk Sunday, Feb. 14 with its starting line at Crandon Park South on Key Biscayne.

The race costs $20 per person to enter or, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, $35 per couple. Fees are raised to $25 per person and $40 per couple if registering the day of the run.

All proceeds will go to benefit the City of Miami’s Public Access Defibrillation Program, in an effort to provide awareness, training, management and oversight for publicly accessible defibrillation. The program will also help fund the placement of Automated External Defibrillators all around Miami.

The purpose of a defibrillator is to deliver electric pulses through a person’s body if they are having a heart attack, in order to help their heart beat normally again.

The society’s president and organizer of the event, junior Monika Freiser, felt a close connection with the effort to place AEDs all around Miami because of a personal experience.

“A close relative of mine passed away because of cardiac arrest and the closest AED was ten minutes away,” she said. “Sudden cardiac arrest normally leaves you with two to four minutes to revive someone, so a closer AED might have made a difference.”

With this experience in mind, Freiser organized the Valentine’s Day 5K in hopes that the money the race raises will help fund the installation of AEDs in places that people frequent around Miami.

Michelle Dominguez, a volunteer and UM graduate, agreed to help out in order to educate the public about a cause that she claimed “hits home for many people.”

“In the run itself, we’re hoping to raise not only funds, but also awareness about a program that could potentially save lives,” Dominguez said. “I think the race will be a wonderful way for people to support a great cause while being a little healthier themselves.”

So far, there are about 150 people registered to run the 3.1-mile course and more are expected. The 5K offers a free t-shirt with registration. Rides to and from the event’s location on Key Biscayne are available to students who need them if they submit a request to Other activities occurring before the run are a speech by a cardiac arrest survivor whose life was saved by an AED, a performance and class by Salsa Craze and a warm-up stretch routine by the Niketown Run Club.

After the race, there will be several booths set up with information from the various sponsors of the run, including the premier sponsor, Relive Research & Development Corporation. There will be 15 different age categories and the top three finishers in each category will receive an award. The top two finishers will receive $90 toward Mizuno shoes from Runner’s Co. in Doral. In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, couples’ awards will also be distributed.

Registration and packet pickup opens at 6:30 a.m., and the actual run begins at 8 a.m.

Colleen Dourney may be contacted at