WAXHAW – Five Union County schools will unite this weekend in an effort to raise funds to support school projects, while also giving back to the community.
The Marvin Ridge cluster will host its third annual Run for the Ridge 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run on Saturday, March 22, at 8 a.m. The race will begin at Crane Road, near the entrance to Marvin Ridge High School’s student parking lot, and will conclude at the high school
Run for the Ridge was started two years ago to benefit Marvin Ridge High, but event organizers chose to incorporate the other four schools in the Marvin Ridge cluster – Marvin, Rea View and Sandy Ridge elementary schools and Marvin Ridge Middle School – last year. Funds raised during the race benefit the schools’ parent-teacher groups and various school projects.
“We wanted to make it a community event, and the other schools definitely wanted to join in,” event organizer Terri Patton said. “We try to raise as much money as we can and split the proceeds equally between the five schools.”
The event has grown in popularity each year. About 200 people ran the first year, and the number of participants grew to 500 last year. Patton expects 600 or more people to take part in this year’s race.
Run for the Ridge organizers incorporate several things into the race to make the event unique and distinguish it from other 5Ks. “Foreign language signs” are placed at various locations on the course and boast messages in English and other languages including French, Spanish, German and Chinese.
The event also features a one-mile fun run for kids, as well as raffle baskets and a small silent auction. Each runner will receive one raffle ticket, and people including non-runners can purchase additional tickets. Raffle items include chiropractic services, restaurant coupons, gift certificates, jewelry, massages, free summer camps for kids, orthodontic services, birthday parties and more.
Funds collected from the race and raffle ticket sales will help the five schools’ parent-teacher groups cover a handful of expenses needed to enhance the students’ educational experience, representatives said.
“This past year, funds raised by the PTA served to enhance instructional materials and resources for both students and teachers, replace aging equipment, improve the campus and outdoor features, provide educational and recognition programs for students and more,” Rea View Elementary’s parent-teacher group said in a statement.
But the event also is reaching outside of the walls of the five schools to help others in the community. Organizers will collect new and gently-used running shoes of all sizes, which will be given to girls’ and boys’ running organizations and a new orphanage in Union County. People also are encouraged to bring twin-sized bed sheets for Beds for Kids, which provides beds and bedding items to children in need.
“We’re trying to reach further out than just our schools,” Patton said. “Even though it may start here, this race is actually benefitting people all around.”
Patton said race organizers are still looking for potential sponsors and will accept applications until race day. She also encourages those who can’t run or sponsor the race to donate or volunteer during the event.
“We’re fortunate to have people that want to help the schools, whether it’s volunteering or doing this race, because every school needs help,” she said.
People can sign up to participate in the race in advance online or in person on the morning of the race. Find more information at www.marvinrunfortheridge.com