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Face of the Race: "Clown Posse"

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) - Running a marathon is no joke, but one group of runners wants to make you laugh.

They call themselves the "Clown Posse."

Even though they are experienced runners, it's not hard to keep up with their humor. Plus, it's easy to see how their goofiness draws attention to a great cause.

"We bust our butt on the training runs. Sometimes it's just fun to have fun instead," said Ken Wilund, who is a part of a group of goofballs.

He makes his rounds on the track in style, if that's what you want to call it.

"It's you know, some disgust, some laughter...everything in between. It depends on what we're wearing on that particular day," said Wilund.

It's always a gaudy getup.

The clown posse's goal is to pump up the crowds, so they can pump up the runners.

They do that by running around donned in mullets, mustaches, full heads of totally fake hair...you name it.

"It's beautiful. I wish I had this much hair," said Wilund.
"He likes it," his friend chimed in.

As for Wilund's student?

"I mean, this is disgusting," said Ph.D student Gwendolyn Derk.

The clowning is a big part, but all jokes aside, they are serious about supporting the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

"One in three Americans are actually at risk for kidney disease, and that number is continuing to grow, partly because of diabetes...obesity, just unhealthy lifestyle choices," said Derk.

So why not have fun while demonstrating a healthy habit?

When they run this year, it's all about the attention they got along the way.

"We have a lot of people that are gonna be running in crazy outfits. We're going to have a lot of people running in kidney t-shirts. The more people that notice us, the more money we're going to raise," said Wilund.

Last year, they said even world-renowned runner Dick Beardsley joined in with the group's antics.

That's why the clown posse is selling "Beardsley's Bandits" hats to raise money for the cause.

They're hoping Beardsley will autograph some of them.

If you would like to donate to the cause, you can follow this link.


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