Half-marathon event readies for its second run
When 700 competitors in the first KSQ Victory Mushroom Cap 13.1 race in Kennett Square first arrived at the Kennett High School track in the early morning of Oct. 15, 2016, they stretched and limbered up nearly in darkness. By the time the race started soon after, they ran through Willowdale, along North Mill Road, Poplar Tree Road and Wollaston Road with the newly-risen sun against their backs.
For race organizers Sarah Nurry and Karen DiMascola, the sudden and bright illumination served as a parallel to nearly a year of planning that was guided, in part, by the light of others – volunteers, elected and appointed officials, and the cooperation of Kennett Square residents.
Now, for the follow-up race, scheduled for Nov. 4 at Kennett High School, Nurry and DiMascola are already tweaking the current model in an effort to match – or surpass – last year's inaugural event.
“The one thing I really learned about last year's race was that we live in an amazing community,” Nurry said. “Karen and I knew what we enjoyed as runners, and that's what we wanted to bring to this race, but what helped us turn our vision into reality was made possible by volunteers and local sponsors who took a chance on us.”
With one race in the books, Nurry and DiMascola are sketching out changes to this year's event, with the largest tweak expected to be in the rise of the number of runners who will start this year's half-marathon, which they said is expected to draw between 1,200 and 1,500.
“Last year, because it was our first year, we capped it at 700, but emails kept coming in,” Nurry said. “The average half-marathon draws about 4,000 runners, so we think we can get there this year.”
A new feature of this year's race will offer runners an option to run a two-person relay race, with lead-off runners directed to a point 6.1 miles from the race start, where they will meet their relay teammate, who will then run the second 7-mile leg back to the finish line at Kennett High School. The race will provide a return shuttle service for runner 1 to reunite with runner 2 for a unique" finish together" option.
A few features of the original race will return. In addition to the post-race celebration for all runners and their families, the Weekly Flight – a group dedicated to promoting an understanding of the challenges associated with combat post-traumatic stress – will again be given the honor of starting this year's race.
When Nurry and DiMascola first conceived the race last year, they did so not just to provide runners with a challenging course, but to use the event as a springboard for charitable giving. On Nov. 15, 2016, in a ceremony at The Marketplace in Kennett Square, Run2Shine, Inc. made three $5,000 contributions to three community organizations as well as help fund research for Pediatric Brain Tumors by gifting the Grayson Saves Foundation $1,000.
This year's recipient sponsors will include the Garage Community & Youth Center, Family Promise of Southern Chester County and the Kennett Education Foundation.
Under the direction of iRun2Shine – the new, gift-giving branch of Run2Shine, Inc. – this year's race will focus its efforts to raise awareness and funds that will benefit underprivileged children in our area. Run2Shine, Inc. will allocate funding to cover sports/fitness equipment for students who are interested in playing on school teams but are unable to afford it.
Run2Shine, Inc. is currently working with the Kennett Consolidated School District and local physical fitness businesses on a pilot program designed to education students on nutrition, wellness and complete fitness.
“Karen and I would like to get to a point where we can give as much as $60,000 back to the community each year,” Nurry said. “When you feel jaded about how the world is functioning around you, being able to give back and helping a person who is less fortunate than you is very fulfilling.”
Beginning next week, a mailer announcing the 2017 race and registration information will be sent to all 2016 competitors, and the general public will be notified beginning on Feb. 15. The registration cost for early registrants will be $85, and $110 for relay race competitors. There will also be a military veteran sponsorship level, which will help pay the entrance fees for all veterans who would like to compete in the race.
For complete information about the KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1 half marathon, visit www.runksqmushroomcap.com.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.