Thirty-fourth Kennett Run set for May 605/02/2023 03:02PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
In weather that is predicted to be partly cloudy and cool, the annual tradition known as the Kennett Run will take place for the 34th time on Saturday, May 6 at Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square.
In fact, the weather forecast for this year’s race served as a key talking point at Kennett Run Charities’ luncheon for its sponsors on April 27 at Two Stones in Kennett Square, and for good reason. Last year’s event on May 7 was held during a torrential downpour that pelted runners and walkers with 40-mile-per-hour winds and three inches of rain as they slogged through the park, past neighborhoods and along State Street. Because of the poor weather, several competitors among the 599 that had registered did not attend the event, which led to a 30 percent decrease in participation.
Kennett Run Charities President Bob Merkle told the sponsors that registration for this year’s Kennett Run – one source of revenue -- is projected to be in the 750-800 range, and anticipates that several last-minute registrations will come in by the end of this week.
However, Merkle said that COVID-19 has had a strong impact on the event’s other source of revenue – sponsorships – leading to a 50 percent decrease in support over the past few years. Despite the drop, Kennett Run Charities was still able to raise $25,000 in 2022, which was given to 14 non-profit organizations. Those groups receiving awards were The Barn at Springbrook Farm, A Child’s Light, Camp Dreamcatcher, the Garage Community & Youth Centers, Good Neighbors, Inc., the Kennett Afterschool Association, the Kennett Area Senior Center, the Kennett Education Foundation, Meals on Wheels-Chester County, Mighty Writers, the Rotary Club of Kennett Square, the Unionville Community Fair, Walk in kNowledge (WIN) and Young Moms.
“It’s been an interesting last four to five years with COVID-19 and the effects it has had on the Kennett Run and on running,” Merkle said. “The industry data shows that 42 percent of people who used to run before COVID-19 are not running yet. Our role in the community is to serve as a fundraiser for the non-profits, and we need more revenue in order to do that.
“You are critical to our success. We are now in the later stages of recovery now, and we look forward to having conversations with you over the next year in order to determining how we can help you and you can help us, so that we remain on an upward path, moving forward.”
Kennett Run Charities Board member Ryan Borchik unveiled a new twist to the annual race this year that will introduce pull-ups to the PoweRun competition, in addition to the usual bench press event.
Kennett Run Race Director John Ramagano – who has also served as the track and field coach for Kennett High School for the last 20 years -- extended thanks to the event’s long-time sponsors for “their time, their money and their efforts.”
“Even though I have only been [associated with the Kennett Run] for a year and a half, I find that this community’s spirit and give-back that I now know has done for our community – our youth, for our hungry, and for education,” Ramagano said. “It’s given me a better understanding about what this community is all about.
“I have lived in this community for 30 years and didn’t realize that there was an organization like this one for all of the things that our community needs. Without [your] sponsorships, we wouldn’t have that.”
To register for this year’s 34th Kennett Run and to learn more about this year’s race, visit www.kennettrun.com, or see the Kennett Run supplement in this week’s Chester County Press.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].