BATAVIA — The third walk/run that’s part of the first-time United Way Genesee Race Series is set to begin this weekend, race director Dave Chua says.
Batavia Kiwanis is sponsoring a second annual Independence Day run that starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at Centennial Park. There are about 90 people pre-registered so far, which has surpassed last year’s numbers, Chua said.
The club just ordered more red T-shirts with patriotic blue and white lettering.
“We keep getting registrations every day,” he said Wednesday. “The first 150 people to register will get a free shirt. There’s a chance that later registrants won’t get a shirt.”
Kiwanis is one of six local organizations to sponsor a race that, combined with five others, makes up the United Way series. United Way officials announced it during this year’s campaign breakfast wrap-up.
So far races have been sponsored by United Memorial Medical Center and Festival of Hope. After this weekend’s race, remaining events include the Donald R. Carroll Toys for Kids 5K in August and Batavia Jaycees Labor Day 5K and Genesee ARC Graney Memorial 5K in September.
Four grand prize top performers will be eligible to win prizes at the end of the series. Each race is just over three miles.
The Independence Day 5K has a couple of notable changes, Chua said. One is that half of the proceeds will go towards autism research and the other half to a charity yet to be determined. Last year’s race garnered $4,000 to $5,000 and most of it went to autism research and some also went to Genesee ARC.
Chua believes that the draw of such events goes hand in hand with why they’re popping up more in the community.
“The popularity of entering races has created good participation, which means they’re a good fundraiser,” he said. “For myself, I definitely run for fitness and I run for joy. Competing in races is almost that next step. It’s something to focus on and prevents me from slacking off. And I like getting a free shirt.”
The other change in the Kiwanis race is that packet pick-ups will be available the day before from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Bourbon & Burger, 9 Jackson St.
More of these races use professional companies to help organize and time each participant’s pace. Kiwanis uses score-this, which will have an accurate total time for each entrant.
Fees are $25 for the run and $20 for the walk. To register and see the course map, go to http://www.score-this.com, or you can register in person before the race begins on Saturday.