(PETERBOROUGH) Runners of all ages are invited to hit the asphalt this Saturday and support the YMCA’s 34th annual half marathon.
Whether you’re a hard-core running enthusiast or someone who just wants to get outside and support a great cause, the ‘Y’ wants you to lace up, have fun and help support one of its most important programs.
The event is the main generator of funds for the Strong Kids Campaign, a program designed to help give every child the opportunity to build a healthy, active lifestyle. The program assists by providing financial aid for children, teens and young adults to use the programs and services found at the YMCA.
The campaign works to fulfill the organization’s mandate of ‘building healthier communities’ by giving today’s youth the building blocks necessary to become healthy, confident members of society. Programs offered include not only fun, health-promoting activities like day camps and swimming lessons, but also teen leadership development courses as well.
“We see the impact that this makes,” states Heather Stephens, who has been the YMCA race organizer for the last four years after competing as a runner herself.
Stephens states that the number of requests for assistance has increased significantly. In the last year-and-a-half, the amount of families applying to the program have more than doubled, reinforcing the importance of this event to fund a program with such a high demand.
This year’s event will see three categories available for participants: a half marathon, a 5K walk/run and, new to this year, a 1K kid’s fun run. The fee for the kid’s event is minimal, stressing the importance of activity and participation rather than the need to generate funds for the campaign.
The route begins on Alymer Street, in front of the YMCA and tours around Little Lake, giving participants a scenic view of Peterborough as they run the course. The children’s circuit runs directly up Alymer to Perry streets and back to the YMCA and is completely closed off from traffic.
The kids run will kick off the races at 12:05 p.m., with the half marathon and 5K walk/run starting at 12:30 p.m. and 12:50 p.m. respectively. Prizes will be awarded according to the participants finish in each age category, except for the kid’s event where all participants will receive awards and prize bags.
If running is not your thing, the event is still in need of volunteers to help out during the event. Volunteers are needed in a number of capacities to keep the race route safe for runners and manning the aid stations along the route.
“The safety of the runners is key,” says Stephens, citing that volunteers are extremely important to the effective running of the event.
Those interested in volunteering for the event can contact Stephens via e-mail for details or come Saturday morning prior to the event.
For more information, registration forms and volunteer opportunities go to www.peterboroughymca.org.