He was hoping for around 1,000 participants.
Turns out he was way off as nearly double that amount showed up.
“To see this come to fruition is amazing,” he said. “It’s like when you throw a party and you don’t know if anyone is going to show up. You just hope they do, and this turnout has been tremendous. To see everyone here and their faces; it’s been great.”
With his teammates turning out in droves, the event was a rousing success in support of the Polinsky Children’s Center. The center’s website describes itself as a 24-hour facility for the temporary emergency shelter of children who must be separated from their families for their own safety, or when parents cannot provide care. Each month more than 300 children up to 18 years old are admitted.
“It helps abused and neglected kids and is a truly tremendous cause,” Hardwick explained. “There is a ton of talent and ability at this facility. The kids are sent there by the cops or social services and they are given life at the Polinsky Children’s Center from people who care. They nurture them, so it is a truly tremendous cause.”
All in all, 17 additional Chargers showed up to sign autographs and mingle with participants. They included
“Nick and I go way back and I cherish the time I get to spend with him,” said Floyd. “Nick and I have been through so many battles together that I had to be here for him. I want to support him any way that I can. And it’s great to help people become more aware about the negatives of child abuse. We’re in a position where a lot of people listen to us, so it feels good to be here with my teammates and grow awareness for the cause.”
Novak echoed those very same sentiments.
“He really stepped up this week and did a great job with this,” he said. “Nick’s a guy we look up to. He does so much for us so when he tells us he is doing something like this there is no hesitation on our part. We’re going to be there for him and help any way that we can.”
Runners were greeted by a carnival type atmosphere as they ended the 5K. Live music, free food and drinks, countless booths and attractions for kids including the popular bounce house surrounded the finish line.
“This is more than I expected,” said Ryan, a father of two whose sons met him after he ran the course. “My family is having a lot of fun and it was great to have them meet the Chargers. We watch them every week. They are heroes to my kids because of the game they play, but I also want my kids to know they should be heroes because of what they do in the community like this.”
Among the many to complete the 5K course was a familiar face in Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris.
“This is a great event for a great cause to help children,” he said. “As much as we can give back is great. And what else can you say about Nick Hardwick. He is a classy individual who loves to support people and help causes that are helpful for our community and our world.”If this event sounds like one you'd like to be a part of, be sure to sign up for the Chargers own 5K in the Fourth Annual Bolt to the Q.