Mascot Run can benefit all schools

A merger of two separate walk/runs started by the Batesville Community Education Foundation and Mayor's Youth Council has become the Batesville K12 Mascot Run. It's slated for Saturday, Sept. 27, just south of Liberty Park.

Participants can choose from three lengths, a 12K, 5K or 3K. BCEF administrator Kelly Poltrack says, "We want it to be for the whole community, one community racing together." The events aren't just for elite athletes. Participants "can walk any of these."

The starting and finish line is on Pohlman Street near that park entrance. Start times will be staggered: 12K at 8:30 a.m., 5K at 8:40 a.m. and 3K at 8:50 a.m.

Families may park at Liberty Park, surrounding streets or Batesville Knights of Columbus Hall on Delaware Road.

Her desire for a festival atmosphere is met by scheduling it on the weekend that already boasts Applefest and the Batesville High School homecoming. "Plus the Kiwanis Club (which sponsors Applefest) is such a great organization and does so much for the kids." 

"We really wanted the primary school kids to be able to participate," so adding a shorter length made sense. She considers the 3K on the paved Liberty Trail "a family fun run. Walk, run, push a stroller. That one isn’t going to have prizes."

A new competitive twist offers a reward: Any school that has 100 participants – students and adults – will automatically receive $500. She notes that includes private schools, such as St. Louis School and Oldenburg Academy, and also other area schools. The administrator encourages people to sign up early so schools can see how many more are needed to reach the magic 100.

BCEF is reaching out to the private schools because "we wanted the whole community to take part." The Mayor's Youth Council has students who attend St. Louis and Oldenburg Academy. Some BCEF grants benefit more than just public students. For instance, one paid for civil rights activist Ruby Bridges' transportation to speak at several schools here.

The community is cooperating. Poltrack reports, "The Batesville Soccer Club agreed to back up its start times to 10 a.m. to help from a safety standpoint" by easing traffic in the area. That means kids can run or walk, then play soccer.

The BHS Dance Team and dance campers will perform before the races start. "We’ll try to have a lot of different fun activities," she promises. "We would love to have many different groups out cheering along the route."

There will be water stations, one for the 5K and two for the 12K.

Afterwards, runners and walkers can enjoy snacks, such as apples donated by the Batesville Farmers’ Market, and water and an awards ceremony. Age group medals will be given to the fastest 12K entrants. In the 5K, student and adult winners at each of the six local schools will be applauded.

BCEF and MYC are being assisted with registration and timekeeping by Stuart Road Racing. "They helped us with that last year and do a lot of races around here," she says.

Entry fees are $30 for the 12K; $20 or $50 per family for the 5K; and $10 or $25 per family for the 3K. Persons may register online at www.stuartroadracing.com. Registration forms are available at http://batesvilleeducationfoundation.org or http://bcsc.batesvilleinschools.com or the Batesville Community School Corp. administration office, 626 N. Huntersville Road. 

Participants can still register on race morning, "but if they want to be assured of getting a shirt, we would appreciate it if they could register by Monday, Sept. 22."

Even persons unable to go the distance can back a school and be in the count to reach 100. Poltrack recommends, "If you want to support a school, you can be a virtual runner and go ahead and pay the registration fee. The 3K is only $10."

Because this is a BCEF fundraiser, there is another way to contribute. A past or present public or private school family member – teacher, administrator, coach or other staff member – may be honored with at least a $10 donation. The administrator explains, "We put the signs up (with honorees' names made by the BHS Art Club) in front of those schools the week prior to the race, then we’ll post the signs up along the course during the race, then they will receive certificates at the end of the year .... It’s a great way to recognize” staff members. 

Those forms are available on the Web sites as well and should be returned with tax-free donations soon. Donations will go to the BCEF Teacher Fund to support grant requests for new and innovative programs, projects and classroom tools. 

Because of MYC's involvement, BCEF will make a donation to the city's trail system as MYC has in the past.

More volunteers are needed to pass out water, help with registration and direct entrants along the courses. Persons who would like to help out may contact Poltrack. Please see box for that information.

There are a number of reasons families should participate. "You get to choose a school you want to participate in support of … it will be a great community atmosphere. We hope to get a lot of people out. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, which is important. You can either run or walk. We have encouraged people to dress as their favorite school mascot or in school gear," the administrator reports. 

Race organizers want to see a lot of Bulldogs, Twisters and Cardinals Sept. 27 – and, during the races, blurs of blue, white, navy and red. Poltrack urges, "Get dressed up and come have a good time with it!"

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113. 

Race sponsors sought

• Funds are needed to organize the Batesville K12 Mascot Run. According to the administrator, "We’ve had pretty good sponsor support, but we’d definitely welcome more." All levels of event sponsors will be recognized on T-shirts and most in other areas: Doctorate, $750, finish line; Master’s, $500, turnaround; Bachelor’s, $250, mile marker; and Diploma, $100. Additionally, food table sponsorships are available.

• Businesses and organizations need to register as sponsors by Sept. 12 by contacting Poltrack at kpoltrack@batesville.k12.in.us or 812-216-8137.

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