A change of pace is the strategy to bring runners and walkers out for the 2nd annual on Saturday.
After several years of low attendance for the Saukville Family Fun Night event, the Saukville Chamber of Commerce decided to take a step in a different direction with the run/walk event.
“I enjoyed organizing family fun day, but with the poor weather, lack of volunteers and lack of attendance I think it just got old," said Stacey Frey, the Executive Director for the Saukville Chamber of Commerce. "We couldn’t think of ways to bring people in.”
Chamber members assembled the first Saukville Family 5k Run/Walk in 2010.
"Last year we decided to organize it. I had become a runner at that point, so I thought it was a great idea,” Frey said. “We a got great response from people outside of the community that ran last year or walked. They said it was so well organized for the first year. They were pretty impressed.”
Matt Thull, the overall male winner of last year’s race said he is excited to participate again in this year’s 5K run.
"It had everything you look for in a race," Thull said. "You get to run hard, but there’s also a cookout, so it’s very fun."
Thull, who coaches the women’s cross country team at Alverno College, is currently training for the Olympic tryouts which take place in January 2012.
"I enjoyed the challenge of running up the hills and not doing a pancake flat course," Thull said.
The route, which starts and ends at Grady Park, winds through the village and includes a trip up the large hill on Colonial Parkway. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female runners. Ribbons will also be handed out to the top runners in different age groups.
A portion of the money raised this year will go towards several projects the Chamber of Commerce is working on, including building a new website and finding office space to conduct work in. The other portion of the money raised will be given to .
"It helps us out tremendously," said Chad Brakke, the principal of Saukville Elementary. He said the donation given to the school will be used to help fund a free breakfast program.
"Last year we were back and forth with our breakfast program and how to do it," Brakke said. "We charged a quarter and we kind of had a program, but it didn’t really work. So, we decided to open it up and just go on donations. Then it was much better. It’s for anybody, it doesn’t cost anything and we have parent volunteers that set it up and serve the kids so it’s nice."
The free breakfast program is just one of several which are held throughout the . While Saukville Elementary relies on community donations for their program, the money from the run/walk will allow organizers to purchase fresh, healthy food for children.
"Some people use it all the time, every day; other people, it’s when they’re running behind," Brakke said. "So the parents really appreciate it. We want to make sure that it’s there for everyone and this will help."
Brakke will be handing out water to runners at one of the mile markers on the route this Saturday, and said he’s looking forward to seeing familiar faces as he prepares for his second year as principal of the school.
For Thull, knowing the money spent to enter a race goes to a good cause adds to his enjoyment of participating.
"I think runners have so many options, and I think [they] pay close attention to where the money is going," he said. As a former teacher, Thull said this year’s Saukville Family 5K Run/Walk holds a special place in his heart.
Frey and her fellow chamber members are hoping to see a lot of participants sign up the day of the race.
Registration for the Saukville Family 5K Run/Walk begins at 6:45 a.m. and the race kicks off at 8 a.m. A cookout will follow the race for participants. If you would like to volunteer for the event, call Stacey Frey at 414-350-0175.