Reindeer Fun Run Raises Funds for Boys and Girls Club
It may be well past Christmas, but the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills received a belated gift this week, courtesy of organizers of the Reindeer Fun Run.
The 2011 edition of the race raised $27,000 for the club. Over the six years of its existence, the run has raised more than $80,000 for the youth-oriented organization.
“The more people to the starting line, the more money for the Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Kate Petsolt, event coordinator. “That is the ultimate goal.”
The Reindeer Fun Run features a variety of different running or walking events for all ages, including a 10K run (6.2 miles), 5K run/walk (3.1 miles), and a one-mile Egg Nog Jog. A Blitzen Bash holiday party preceeded the races.
Aberdeen hosted the Reindeer Fun Run for the first time in 2011 after being held in Southern Pines since its inception in 2006.
The Reindeer Fun Run drew more than 2,200 participants from 25 states and about 1,000 spectators and 250 to 300 volunteers.
“It was a tremendous event,” said Caroline Eddy, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. “There was so much going on that day. There was something for everybody.”
Petsolt attributed the success of the event to its ability to balance fun with competition.
“People really embracethe fun part of it,” she said. “They really love the T-shirts and the antlers, but coupled with that is the competition side of it. This is the last event in the Sandhills Race Series, so it can be serious too.”
Eddy admitted she was a bit apprehensive about how the new location would affect the event.
“We thought we’d take a hit because of changing locations, but it didn’t happen that way,” Eddy said.
The amount of money donated to the club was the most in the history of the event.
Eddy credited the success of the event to the hard work of organizers Dave and Kate Petsolt, representatives from the town of Aberdeen, the volunteers and everyone who came together to make the event happen.
Petsolt said she looks forward to next year’s event.
“We are thrilled,” she said. “Because of what Aberdeen did for us, we know we can grow the event in the future.”
Eddy said the money raised will allow the club to serve more children through the purchase of after-school supplies and food and for staffing. Currently, the Boys and Girls Club serves about 300 children a day, giving them a safe, friendly environment where they can do homework, socialize and exercise.
As part of these programs, the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills provided 23,484 meals in Southern Pines and 10,496 snacks in Aberdeen, serving nearly 2,000 members and community youth.
The club is open each day after school from 2 to 6:30 p.m. — when research has shown children to be most vulnerable to gangs, violence and other risky behaviors. In the summer, club and special summer-only sites open their doors all day to young people with nowhere else to go.
During the 2011 Reindeer Fun Run, about 30 kids from the club participated in one of the races. They received three weeks of pre-event training and, according to Eddy, who also ran in the Egg Nog Jog with many of the kids, had “a blast.”
“The kids were so proud when they finished the Egg Nog Jog,” she said. “They all got ribbons and watching them show those ribbons to their family members was special. They all felt like winners.”
Even though the 2012 version of the Reindeer Fun Run is 10 months away, Eddy said many of the kids at the Boys and Girls Club are looking forward to the event.
“They talk about it all the time,” Eddy said. “They can’t wait for the next one.”
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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