With a changing of the guard on the horizon and in its third straight year as a school fundraiser, Run for the Hills has found a new way to reach potential participants.
"We're really excited about offering online registration," said Jenny Schweinert, the race organizer. "We have always offered early registration, but we wanted to make this as simple as possible. We always want to get as many people as possible to participate."
The race, which supports Wisconsin Hills Middle School, annually attracts about 500, she said.
"The weather has been an issue from time to time," she said, referring to the event's actual six-year history; the race originated at Hillside Elementary and parents continued the event after that school closed.
Run for the Hills will be held Sunday, April 27, at Mitchell Park. Staggered start times are noon for the run and walk, 12:45 p.m. for the Mascot Race and 1 p.m. for the Kids' Fun Runs. Awards for race finishers will follow the events.
Schweinert pointed out several event features, including the generally flat course running through Mitchell and Fox Brook parks near the Wilson Center, a professional race-timing system, complimentary refreshments and live entertainment.
"We always try to add new things each year," Schweinert said. "This year, there will be more mascots from local sports teams. It's a lot of fun."
Registration costs range from $15 per person to $60 for a family up to five members.
Teams of 10 or more may sign up for $12 per team member.
It is an important fundraiser for the middle school. Schweinert said last year's event raised $8,000.
"The money specifically goes to programs that are not funded with district funds," Schweinert said, pointing to the ability for Wisconsin Hills to present musicals, enhance its fine arts programs and support youth leadership programs.
While Schweinert has been organizing the event with other parents from its Hillside beginnings, a change will take place next year.
"I will be stepping down," she said, also speaking for her co-organizer, Tracy Peck. "It's time for someone else to step up and do this. It's fun to watch, and I would like to run it more often."
Schweinert is one of several parents who are avid runners who run for time as well as with their families.
Another runner and parent who has been involved in the event is Marek Kotrly. He said it will be tough to fill Schweinert's shoes.
"She has done a great job," Kotrly said. "I find that I can't devote as much time because of my job responsibilities."
Kotrly will pitch in on event day, setting up the course, including the road markers, water tables and finish chute.
SUM OF THE RUN
WHAT: Run for the Hills Run and Walk
WHERE: Mitchell Park, east of Barker Road
WHEN: noon Sunday, April 27
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