It’s not often you see a line of people running through the streets of Forest Acres dressed in garish holiday-themed clothes, but they were there Saturday morning, and all for a good cause.

The 3rd Ugly Sweater 5k brought 151 human runners (plus four dogs who joined in the race) and dozens more supporters out early to support the mission of the Metropolitan Children’s Advocacy Center (Met CAC), a program of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH).

The Met CAC provides services to children of all ages who are suspected victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and other types of maltreatment.

The event is organized each year by Friends of the Met CAC, a group of people who work to provide the Met CAC with things state funding does not cover, from extra supplies for kids to extra training opportunities for employees.

“We're hoping to raise community awareness that we're out here trying to fight child abuse every day, and we're thankful for our community's support," said Kristin Dixon, a Met CAC employee and longtime member of the local running community who volunteered to serve as race director.

Saturday’s race included awards for the fastest runner in each age category, plus special prizes for the participant with the ugliest sweater (or overall holiday ensemble) and for best dressed dog.

More information on the Met CAC is available at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health website.

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