|Hands for Heroes 5 to benefit veterans, Haiti|
|Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:24 AM|
LIMA — Shawnee Community United Methodist Church’s (CommUMC) 5th annual half-marathon and 5-kilometer road race set for Sept. 28 in Shawnee Township will have a new look in 2013 as fundraising efforts will not only focus on heroes in Haiti but also veteran heroes who need our help as they acclimate to life back at home.
Rebranded as Hands 4 Heroes 5, all proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Team RWB (http://teamrwb.org/), a 501c3 organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity, as well as the CommUMC Haiti Mission, which provides water, education and healthcare in Northern Haiti.
The race will donate all proceeds to Team RWB and its Haiti mission. Since 2009, the race has raised more than $40,000. According to race director Andrea DeVoe Ross, the half-marathon and 5K races were created originally to support Haiti but have expanded this year to support local veterans. As in year’s past, the event also aims to bring a healthy family activity to Lima.
“My husband and I are both Navy veterans and extremely involved in helping veterans have great experiences in our current roles,” Ross said. “Through that work, I know that more than 2.5 million men and women have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 and many come back and struggle to assimilate back into life at home. I know first-hand that Team RWB provides a safe place for these men and women to come out and hang out with other members of the community while engaging in healthy pursuits.”
“When we started in 2009, this was the first half-marathon within a 60-mile radius of our town, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for local runners—both experienced and first timers—to be able to save some money on travel costs and come out and enjoy a good race with us,” Ross continued. “To host a number of these brave heroes and to see them running up Zurmehly Road carrying our American flag is going to be awesome.”
Participants in the half-marathon can look forward to 13 water and food stops, an energy gel stop midway, technical T-shirts, nice-quality medals to all finishers, tons of food at the finish line and cash prizes.
The race course itself is mostly flat and traverses paved country roads and one spooky bridge. In addition to fields of wheat, corn and soybeans, runners may also see a few cows and a whole bunch of race volunteers ready to pass out water, snacks or even words of encouragement to participants.
In addition to the longer runs, kids can participate in a .75-mile race of their own, complete with a unique kids’ run T-shirt. And for those parents who like to both run and not have to push a stroller for once, free, secure babysitting is available for children ages 6 weeks to 7 years. You can also stop by the church on Friday night from 5-7:30 p.m. to pick up your race packet and then enjoy a homemade spaghetti dinner for $7 adults, $3 children.