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Chester County Press

KSQ Mushroom Cap II set for Nov. 4

10/17/2017 01:10PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer
As the sun first began to emerge near the start of the first KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1 last Oct. 15 at Kennett Stadium, members of the Weekly Fight, a local nonprofit organization created to benefit war veterans and their families, stood valiant and still with the American flag held high above them.
At that moment, the cold that had welcomed more than 700 runners earlier that morning seemed to have melted into a blanket of warmth and protection.
At its November celebration, Run2Shine, Inc., the fundraising wing of the KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1, donated a total of $16,000 to three beneficiaries: The Garage Community & Youth Center, Family Promise of Southern Chester County and The Genesis Employee Foundation, at its gala celebration held at the Marketplace at Kennett Square.
Now, as the KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1 half marathon prepares for its second run on Nov. 4, the event has already come to stand for its challenging terrain through the streets and past the pastures of southern Chester County -- and for its generosity toward its community.  As proof, nearly 20 war veterans who belong to the Weekly Fight -- sponsored by Knox Equipment Rentals, a West Chester-based equipment leasing company -- will again lead the more than 700 competitors who are signed up to run.
"One of the veterans who ran last year was in a terrible car accident, but he's been rehabbing himself and with the help of his brothers and sisters, he will start the race in a wheelchair and compete in the first five miles," said Run2shine, Inc. co-founder Sarah Nurry, who began the KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1 race with Karen DiMascola nearly two years ago. "Folks like those from Knox Equipment Rentals play a huge part in making the KSQ Mushroom Cap the event that it's already come to stand for."
Still in its infancy, the KSQ Mushroom Cap Half Marathon and Relay Event is already thought of in local running circles as the companion race of the annual Kennett Run. The overlaps are many: Both races enjoy a hometown feel. Both courses take in Kennett Square's landmarks and unique neighborhoods, and then opens up to reveal the Autumn colors and landscape of southern Chester County. Like the Kennett Run, the KSQ Mushroom Cap relies on the selflessness of volunteers who work tirelessly to assure that the event goes smoothly, and the KSQ Mushroom Cap hopes to recruit more than 150 volunteers this year.
Most importantly, at the core of each race is the commitment to give back to the community. Nurry said that the goal of the race is to bring attention to and raise funding for low-income, underprivileged families in the Kennett Community. Run2shine, Inc. is collaborating in their efforts with the Kennett Education Foundation and the Garage and Family Promise of Southern Chester County.
"We knew that the Kennett Run has been around for 30 years and that their charitable givings have been amazing," Nurry said. "We didn't want to be redundant with our beneficiaries, so we met with a lot of leaders in the community and asked them, 'Where can we be most beneficial?"' We kept hearing over and over again that there is a need being felt from low-income families who just don't have the same resources, and the dichotomy between them and the rest of the community is quite large."
New for this year's race will be the Victory Relay, which will team two runners up to complete the 13.1-mile race, together. The runner competing in the first leg will run six miles and his/her teammate will finish the race by running 7.1 miles. Currently, over 100 relay teams have registered.
"We decided to go this year with the relay," Nurry said. "We found out that there were so many community members who wanted to participate, but just didn't have the time to train for a 13-mile, which is a life commitment. Now they can share the event with a friend. The relay allows for a different type of runner to compete."
The event will also feature Mr. Fungi's Speedy Mile, a one-mile race for middle- and high-school students around the stadium track.
The chief lesson that Nurry and DiMascola carry with them into this year's KSQ Mushroom Cap is improved communications.
"The original conception behind this event was that it was a homegrown idea that attempted to bring our runner friends to a beautiful course, but now we've learned everything that goes on behind the scenes," Nurry said. "We've learned how important an EMS plan is, and how important the logistics of communication is. This year, we will have a team of emergency marshals with us, who will be constantly moving among zones, to make sure that the emergency plan is consistent throughout the entire course."
The 2017 KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1 Half Marathon is a rain or shine event, and will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Kennett Stadium. The race, which will feature an Olympic-style starting line, will be led by race director Lynne Hernandez, and will be timed by Lin-Mark Sports, using the disposable B-tag from ChronoTrack, the world's most advanced timing system. On race day, Lin-Mark will set up laptop computers near the finish line to allow runners to locate their race results. There will be 13 themed aid and hydration stations set up throughout the course.
Following medal ceremonies, a post-race celebration will be held at the Kennett Square Creamery, and will feature beer by the the race's title sponsor Victory Brewing Company, food trucks and live music.
To learn more about the KSQ Mushroom Cap 13.1 Half Marathon and to register, visit
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected] .