Runners brave the cold for the 4th annual Mardi Gras 5k in Downtown Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Saturday morning, Huntsville runners braved chilly temperatures and laced up their running shoes, all for some beads and a good cause.

In its fourth year, the Mardi Gras 5K marks the start of Mardi Gras celebrations in Huntsville.

"This is just the kick off of the month, the Mardi Gras 5k, we're hoping to grow this race in the future," said Blount Hospitality House Executive Director Marydae Sneed.

All proceeds from the run, and Huntsville's Mardi Gras parade, benefit the Blount Hospitality House. The Blount House offers lodging and support to out-of-town relatives of patients being treated in Huntsville area hospitals.

"I like to say that we are Huntsville's hospitality house, and we are hospitable in Huntsville as a general rule of thumb. We are a great city, we've got people coming in from all over the world," said Sneed.

Everything it takes to operate your home times 30 people is what the Blount House needs. Sneed said that's why these fundraisers are so important for them.

"As any non-profit, we are looking to keep our doors open. We've been here since 1980 and hope to be here for another 37 years," she said.

Sneed said without the support they receive from the community, they wouldn't be here.

"Every $25 that comes into the Blount House is like $25,000! It's huge for us to have that support," she explained.

The Blount House already wants you to mark your calendars for their next Mardi Gras 5K the first weekend of February 2018. They also want to remind the public about their Rudolph Run which will be December 16, 2017.

For more information on Mardi Gras celebrations in Huntsville, click here.