Benefiting Holy Family School

In 2006, Ned Searles, an avid runner and bicyclist, reluctantly agreed to an annual check-up after several requests from his wife. Though he was symptom-free and had no family history of cancer, a simple blood test helped uncover that Ned, age 41, had stage 3 prostate cancer.  Doctors gave him only a 15 percent chance of survival, but aggressive treatment and early detection saved his life.

Still recovering from the side effects of cancer treatment, Ned began searching for ways to both maintain a healthy lifestyle and give back to others.  The perfect opportunity presented itself after church one Sunday.  Ned was approached by fellow parishioner Gigi Bonham who wanted to organize a race to benefit McKinney’s Holy Family School.  “She saw that I was wearing running shorts and asked me what I was up to.  At that point, we worshipped at the YMCA gym, and I had done a run before service.” Searles said.   As Ned and Gigi talked, an idea was born.   “I was fighting cancer while designing the race course.  I certainly felt like a man who had received a miracle, and we wanted the kids at Holy Family to receive one too.”   The name “Believe!” seemed like an ideal fit.


The Believe Team combined Ned’s love of running with the desire to help Holy Family School provide pre-school tuition assistance for low income families.  Holy Family meets the needs of McKinney and the surrounding area’s diverse population by promoting a sense of self-worth, a respect for others and a love for learning, and has been doing it since 1951.  (Additional information about Holy Family School can be found at  The first Believe! race kicked off in 2006, with all net proceeds going directly to scholarships.  Since 2006, the race has provided scholarship funds for more than 400 children. It continues the tradition today – combining a love of healthy activity with giving back to those in need.


Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, event participation has grown steadily through the years, attracting as many as 1,200 runners, many of whom stay for the annual downtown McKinney Home for the Holidays event that goes on over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Active families from all over north Texas consider this event to be a great addition to their holiday weekend tradition.  Corporate sponsors for the race this year include Baylor Medical of McKinney, Market Street, and Square One Mortgage.


The Believe! race is different from other races in the DFW area because of its philanthropic history, and because it is the opening element to a fun day of holiday activities in the downtown McKinney area. “Everyone wins in this race”, states Searles, “Families enjoy a great new healthy holiday tradition, and kids in need get support to kick-start learning in a great place.” 


Race day starts with a special children’s event - The Great Santa Chase!  Santa is played by McKinney Mayor, Brian Loughmiller.  Each child receives a candy cane for being part of the event, and is encouraged to run in the 5k Mayors Challenge.  The Santa Chase is free of charge and designed for children 10 and younger. It is a great photo opportunity for parents.


The 5k and 10k races are operated by PlayTri, and the courses are chip timed and are officially certified by USATF.  The routes are breathtaking with the colorful fall foliage in November and the view of many of McKinney’s beautiful historic homes, and the hills make the race challenging enough for even the more competitive runners. Children must be 6 to wear their own race bib.  Strollers and dogs on leashes are allowed on 5k and 1 mile courses only[NS1] .


After the completion of the awards ceremony, all participants are invited to join in the Home for the Holidays event,, which includes food trucks, vendors, rides and entertainment, and some very special Christmas shopping.  “The Believe! Run is a family tradition for many participants, and we love that following the race, runners stay in downtown to eat, shop and enjoy all that Historic Downtown McKinney has to offer”  says Amy Rosenthal, Director of the McKinney Performing Arts Center & Main Street with the City of McKinney.

The event will take place on Saturday, November 30th, 2019. 


Start and Finish will be located at Mitchell Park in historic downtown McKinney, and the awards ceremony will take place on the Main Stage at Home for the Holidays at the steps of the old courthouse. 


The cost of the race is $30 for the 5k, $35 for the 10k, and $20 for the 1 mile.  The Santa Chase is free of charge.  After 11/20, prices increase $5 per participant and race shirts are not guaranteed. Group discount available for teams 4 or larger, see details on registration page.  Shirts and race bibs can be picked up before the race at Playtri McKinney store.  Direct link to registration is


After 14 years, Ned is still organizing the run, and the race has provided over $200,000 in scholarships.  There is a lot of believing going on.


All race information can be found on Facebook.  Search “Believe McKinney Run” or visit h1ttps://


Race Day Schedule:

7:00 am - Race Registration

7:30 am - Sunrise Celebration

8:04 am – Wheelchair start

8:05 am- 10K Start

8:15 am - The Great Santa Chase

8:25 am - 5K Start

8:35 am - 1 Mile Holiday Walk

9:45 am - Awards Ceremony


We have time slots available for interviews with Ned Searles, co-founder of the Believe! Race if you would like more information or direct quotes.  We can schedule times either by phone or in-person in downtown McKinney or at Holy Family School. 


To schedule, please contact either:


Michelle Bowman                                               Ned Searles

Communications, Believe! Leadership Staff             Co-Founder, Believe! McKinney Run                               

469-999-3775                                                   972.984.8695