Race to fund Special Olympics

Published 7:03 pm Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Beaufort/Hyde Special Olympics is inviting the public to lace up their running shoes for a fundraiser on the Washington waterfront.

The organization will host its inaugural Rabbit Race, a fundraiser to raise money to host the annual Spring Games and other team-related costs, according to Eric Sedlacek, coordinator for Beaufort/Hyde Special Olympics.

The Rabbit Race is mad up of three different races: a 5K run, a 10K run and a 1-mile fun run. Registrants can sign up for any race for a fee — $30 for the 5K, $35 for the 10K and $15 for the fun run, if registered before March 25, according to Sedlacek. However, people can still sign up to participate the day of the race, with the price to compete going up $5 more for both the 5K and 10K. Race-day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. T-shirts are guaranteed for those who pre-register.

The races, set for Saturday, will be launched from Festival Park on the Washington waterfront, Sedlacek said. Competitors will travel Main Street to the Runyon Creek Bridge then cross over into Washington Park. Racers will loop around Washington Park and come back up Main Street and loop back around to Festival Park, according to Sedlacek. Those wishing to participate by walking, rather than running, are welcome, he said.

“We were trying to provide an opportunity for a lot of people to compete,” Sedlacek said. “We try to provide a broad range of options for runners, and we have quite a few of our own athletes that will be participating in the Fun Run.”

Sedlacek said the idea for the races came from Wendy Leys, a volunteer with the organization.

“This fundraiser will allow us to keep our local program running to provide for our athletes,” Leys said. “It funds our teams, trips, supplies, food, lodging and transportation. Without fundraisers, we don’t have a program that will be able to attend all the amazing things that are offered to our athletes.”

While the nonprofit conducts smaller fundraisers such as car washes, the race is a fun, different way to raise money, Sedlacek said. Organizers hope to make the event an annual opportunity for the community to come out and support the Special Olympics.

Sedlacek said the organization serves over 300 athletes in the two counties, offering sporting activities such as track and field, swimming and bowling. The group also sends its skiing team to participate in the Winter Games, as well as the N.C. Summer Games.

To register for the Beaufort/Hyde Special Olympics Rabbit Race, visit runtheeast.com. To register on the day of the race, visit 119 E. Water St. in Washington, right next to Festival Park.