Looking Back: The Houska Houska 5K

A great deal can happen in 70 years – in fact, we’ve spent the past several months highlighting just how different Fort Collins was when Houska Automotive first opened its doors in 1952. While a lot has changed, there is something that has remained constant – that is, Houska’s presence in Fort Collins and our dedication to the betterment of the community.

While Houska Automotive has created a 70-year legacy of serving Northern Colorado through various events, sponsorships and fundraisers, there is one event that we take particular pride in – the gone-but-never-forgotten Houska Houska 5k! If you aren’t familiar with our 22-year-long tradition of hosting a Memorial Day fun run (or if you’d simply like to reminisce on the good times we had each year), read on!

The Houska Houska 5k had its beginnings on Memorial Day in 1992, when Dennis and Noreen Houska, together with their son John and a family friend,  ran 3.1 miles around their neighborhood. Two years later, in 1994, this family fun run turned into a full-on event attracting more than 250 participants!

As the Houska Houska 5k quickly became the Memorial Day event to attend in Fort Collins, Dennis Houska – always service-oriented and community-minded – had an idea. Rather than the 5k being simply a fun community event, Dennis decided that the Houska Houska 5k would be transformed into a yearly fundraiser for cancer research. 

Cancer research is a cause near and dear to the Houska family – Dennis lost both of his parents to the disease. Dennis has been both a blood donor and a registered bone marrow donor for many years, and once played a role in saving the life of a young boy through donating bone marrow. 

In its 22 years, the Houska Houska 5k resulted in nearly 500 donors being added to the national registries for blood and bone marrow donors. In addition to this, the event raised funds each year – which was donated to the PVH Cancer Center, which is now called the UCHealth Cancer Center. In total, over $250,000 was donated to help make a difference for those who are affected by cancer in our community. 

While the Houska Houska 5k made a substantial impact on cancer research in Northern Colorado, it was also simply a TON of fun for participants! For 22 years, up to a thousand runners and walkers spent Memorial Day at Houska Automotive – what’s more, participants decked themselves out in costume according to the race’s theme. Yes, theme! Every year, the race had a different theme – the themes were just about anything you could imagine, from sci-fi to superheroes to the roaring 20’s and more! We consistently heard from community members that they simply couldn’t wait to find out the year’s theme and begin to create their costumes.

The Houska Houska 5k was truly a great holiday event for the entire family. We always made sure that there were plenty of activities for the whole family – yard games, petting zoos, zip-lining and bull riding were just a few of the community’s regular favorites. 

Though we don’t host the Houska Houska 5k anymore, we’ll never call it quits when it comes to community involvement. Our commitment to the betterment of Northern Colorado runs deep, as does our commitment to fun! Join us in the fall for our annual themed Halloween Blood Drive, or keep an eye out for our partnership with Project Self Sufficiency this summer.

Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with us!

 

The 2013 theme for the Houska Houska 5k was “Roaring 20’s – Gang up on Cancer!”

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