Go catch the Wascally Wabbits

  • This was printed in September of 2013 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 17th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

Here goes a shameless plug for my running group’s race:

The Wascally Wabbit Half Mawothon begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday near the Japanese

Gardens at Woodward Park in Fresno.

If you’re a runner, I hope to see you out there. If you’re a walker, I hope to see you out

there. If you can’t or don’t want to run or walk 13.1, six, seven, or two miles, then I hope

to see you out there cheering for all the rest of us.

Spectators are very important to half marathons, or any race for that matter. Thirteen

miles is a very far distance to run, and it would be quite boring if there weren’t people

along the course ringing cow bells, whooping and hollering, and holding funny and

clever signs along the way.

We runners need motivation to climb hills and sprint to the finish line. We may make it

look easy, but it’s really not. We appreciate the support.

I realize I’m taking advantage of the generous space my editor gives me to write this

column each week to put in a free advertisement for a race that I’m running. But there are

two reasons why this is a “shameless” plug for the run. One, the main reason I write this

column is to encourage and motivate others to live a healthy, active lifestyle. This is my

invitation to you to run, walk or watch a healthy, active race.

Two, the race raises money for a magnificent cause that I believe in: helping former

foster children pursue higher education through scholarships.

My coach is the race director and also the CEO of Kids Kasa Foster Care Inc., a local

foster care agency that treats at-risk youth and finds homes for children who have been

removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect.

Kids from traditional homes typically receive financial and emotional support from

family as they transition into adult life and pursue college – I know I did. But foster kids

often don’t get the same support. In fact, nearly 40 percent of those who “age out” of the

system at 18 become homeless.

Kids Kasa has organized the Wascally Wabbit event to raise money for foster kids who

want to go to college but don’t have the money to get there. I believe in helping those

who want to help themselves. If a foster kid has dreams of becoming a successful adult,

you can bet I’m going to pay $65 to run a race and help them out.

Besides, it’s a tough-but-fun course, a family-friendly event, and there will be a bunny

costume contest and photos with our mascot.

The half marathon will take you around Woodward Park on some pretty challenging hills.

You’ll catch a majestic view of the entire park, the San Joaquin River, and much of North

Fresno and even Children’s Hospital from atop the highest point in the park. Then you’ll

run down to the lowest point in the park, along a trail just a few yards from the river, and

up along the Lewis Eaton Trail that parallels Friant Road. Then it’s back around the park

again to the finish line at the Japanese Gardens.

If you don’t want to complete the entire 13.1 by yourself, you can enlist a running buddy

to join you in a relay. One person runs the first six miles of the course with a carrot in

hand, then passes it to their teammate who will run the last 7.1 miles.

There is also the two-mile run/walk option, which starts at the same time and place as the

marathon but just takes you around Woodward Park’s road.

Online registration, found at thewascally.com, closes today. If you miss it, you can sign

up Saturday morning in person, but fees increase by $5 per event.

Registration will begin at 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning and will cost $65 for the half

marathon, $65 per runner for the half marathon relay (one person runs 6 miles and the

other runs 7.1 to complete the half marathon), and $30 for the two-mile run/walk. The

registration is near the starting line by the Japanese Gardens inside the park. Fees include

technical t-shirts for all events, and medals for half marathon finishers and relay

participants.

See you there!

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