Joey Kesteloot, second from right, poses with Knoxville Cross Country teammates Gable Garcia, Gunnar Garcia and Matthew Brown during the Resolution Run earlier this year. The benefit for Helping Hands will be reborn Dec. 15 as the Winter Wonder Run.

KNOXVILLE — The young organizers of a second annual 5K run to raise funds for Helping Hands food pantry want to see many numbers climb on Dec. 15. For starters, they’d like to double their proceeds and increase participation.

They’re also hoping that temperatures hit double digits, organizer Joey Kesteloot said.

The Winter Wonder Run has been scheduled two weeks earlier on the calendar than the inaugural event. Originally called the Resolution Run, it was postponed from last Dec. 30 due to subzero temperatures and brutal wind chills. When the run finally was held on Jan. 6, temperatures had soared to the single digits.

“We hope that maybe, maybe the weather will be better!” Kesteloot said.

Holding the run before Christmas break also could mean more participation by Knoxville students, he added. There already are more students on the organizing group, which also includes Alex Buckley, Johanna Leonard, Ethan Murra, Riley Newendorp, Isis Walle and Caroline Woodle. All participated in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference or the Young RYLA camp.

Kesteloot, a carryover from the event’s founding trio, said his team is proud to support the local food pantry. The first run raised $1,085 for it.

“We want everything to go to Helping Hands to better the sense of community in Knoxville,” he said.

Runners can register using this link until the morning of the event. Folks also can sign up that day in the Knoxville High commons, where payment also will be accepted from all runners. Each participant will get a T-shirt, and organizers are rounding up prizes for top performers, Kestleoot said. Beyond that, he makes no guarantees beyond starting on time at 9 a.m. He’s an organizer, not a weatherman.

“I’m making no promises as of right now,” Kesteloot said. “It’s gonna be cold either way!”

Pat Finan is the editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express and Pella Chronicle. He can be reached at 641-295-0624 or via email at or