WAXHAW – Hundreds of runners will line up in downtown Waxhaw, April 27, for a run benefiting the Waxhaw-Weddington Sunrise Rotary and Operation Reach Out of Union County.
But the run isn’t at sunrise, it’s at 7 p.m.
While the Sunrise Rotary holds its meetings in the mornings, they decided seven years ago to hold the race in the evening in order to compete with other organizations holding morning runs on Saturdays.
The first year the race was held, the course was to the south of the railroad tracks, but since the train schedule isn’t always predictable, the course has been moved to the north side of the tracks, and runners will cross the start/finish line three times, giving spectators plenty of chances to cheer on the runners.
“It makes it more fun, and the runners appreciate it, too,” said Larry Hook with the Sunrise Rotary.
While the evening run has generated a large turnout for the event, Hook said it does cause some problems with traffic, but organizers do the best they can to get the runners through the heavy traffic intersections quickly. But some of the neighborhoods may experience traffic backups for up to two hours that Friday evening.
Despite that one hiccup, Hook said the community has always been supportive of the race’s mission, and this year will undoubtedly be no exception.
Some of the proceeds from this year’s run will benefit the Rotary and its work to provide clean water, education and polio vaccines to underdeveloped countries. The rest will benefit area schools’ Interact Clubs and Operation Reach Out of Union County, based in Monroe.
“We try and give $5,000 to $7,000 to a special group each year,” Hook said. Previous beneficiaries include the Crisis Assistance Center and a school designed to help challenged children receive an education.
“We look for organizations that are well staffed, but also organizations that aren’t extremely well staffed or funded because it is a small amount,” Hook said. “We want an organization that $5,000 to $7,000 is going to be significant to them.”
Hook said they look at the size of the organization because it’s important to them the organization be a part of the event, helping with set up, cheering on runners and manning water stations.
Hook said he and members of the Rotary paid a visit to Operation Reach Out, 1308 Miller St., Monroe, to see the kind of work the organization did before deciding to pick them for this year’s event.
“We were moved by the efforts being made to support the working poor, people who are trying to help themselves but can’t get by,” Hook said.
Operation Reach Out’s main thrust is food, and the organization serves about 650 families each month through Joseph’s Storehouse, its food pantry. The organization serves clients based on need and income.
In addition to helping families with groceries, the organization also provides lunch, on site, Monday through Friday, with different area churches and organizations preparing and serving the meals each day. Operation Reach Out’s lunch program serves around 500 meals a month.
The organization also helps some clients with medication and refers clients to different organizations based on their needs.
And when the organization receives money from the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program, they can provide utility assistance to clients.
Operation Reach Out also operates a resale shop, Finders Keepers, that sells gently used clothes, furniture, household items and more, but staff said they’re not seeing furniture donations like they used to because more and more people are holding onto their stuff.
“We are honored and thankful to be a part of this year’s town and country run,” said a release from the organization’s staff.
Operation Reach Out only has a paid staff of six, and about 30 to 35 volunteers. But around 120 people from the community help out each week with the lunch and bible study program.
While Operation Reach Out staff and volunteers will be helping at the event, so will volunteers from this year’s main sponsor, Carolina Medical Center – Waxhaw, who also is sponsoring CMC employees to run in the race.
Pre-registration for the race is open, and can be done online at visit www.rotaryclub.org or www.waxhaw.com. Registration costs $20 for the 5K before April 15 and $30 on race day. Registration for the fun run and fitness walk costs $10, $12 after April 15.
Race-day registration will be available at the Bike Depot, 122 W. N. Main St., which is also where pre-registered runners will check-in before the race.
The event includes a 5K, and a half-mile Fun Run. Fitness walk and baby joggers are welcome in either event. Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. The half mile and fitness walks begin at 6:40 p.m. with the 5K race at 7 p.m. Baby joggers and wheelchairs start at 7:05 p.m.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-618-8087.