PITTSBURG – Going for a run is great for your body and mind – it can relieve stress, improve fitness and lift your mood. Running alongside a four-legged friend may have even more benefits for humans and canines alike.

That’s the goal of the Pittsburg Parks & Recreation Department’s Lucky Pup 5K, taking place now through March 17. This virtual race allows participants to run, walk, or jog however, wherever and whenever they want, and help the SEK Humane Society at the same time.

Runners can sign up for the 5K and check out a dog from the SEK Humane Society to run or walk alongside them. The fee to register is $25 and proceeds from the event will benefit the humane society.

Pittsburg Parks & Recreation Department Athletics Program Manager Cory Laster says this virtual 5K is a good opportunity for first-time runners. It’s also a way to give shelter animals the exercise and attention they need.

“A virtual 5K can fit into any schedule,” Laster said in a press release. “Because you can run when, where and how far you like, it’s easy to accomplish. This could also be a great start for someone who aspires to compete at a live event in the future.

“This event will also benefit the SEK Human Society in a couple of different ways. Hopefully, we get more people to head out to their location to walk an adoption-eligible dog. If this can help a few more animals find a home, that would be great.”

SEK Humane Society Business & Promotions Manager Jasmine Kyle says over 60 dogs at the shelter are currently eligible for adoption and she hopes this event will help some of them find homes.

“We are extremely proud to be a no-kill animal shelter and we work around the clock each day to find these animals their forever homes,” Kyle said in the release, noting that some of the shelter’s dogs have been there for over a year.

“We provide them with enrichment activities and walks,” she said. Kennel stress, however, remains an issue that all humane societies deal with. “By checking out one of our dogs, you’re giving them a much-needed break from the shelter and providing them time to have some extra fun,” Kyle said.

Members of the public can check out an adoption-eligible dog from the humane society location (485 E 560th Ave, Pittsburg) any day from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants in the program must have a valid driver’s license.

Runners can submit their times to PPRD from now until March 17. Race t-shirts are available while supplies last.

For more information about this event or to register, contact the Pittsburg Parks & Recreation Department at 620-231-8310.