Run for the Hills organizers have declared the race on - to get an early-bird spot, that is.
A 5-kilometer run and two-mile walk that helps financially support PTO events and other needs at Wisconsin Hills Middle School, Run for the Hills will be held April 28.
March 28 is the deadline for registering at a discount. Individual early-bird registration will be $12, a savings of $3, and an up-to-five-member family registration will be $45, a savings of $5.
"It's a nice incentive to get people involved," said Jenny Schweinert, the race organizer. "As in past years, we hope to attract about 500 to the event."
Plenty of features
The event, Schweinert said, has plenty to offer families and others looking to participate.
Held at Mitchell Park, adjacent to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Run for the Hills includes live entertainment, complimentary refreshments, a children's fun run, a mascot race represented by local school and professional teams, and awards and prizes.
A commemorative T-shirt will feature artwork created by Wisconsin Hills seventh-grader Alena Huang.
Schweinert said that beyond the family-friendly activities, the 5K course attracts runners ranging from beginner to veteran.
"It's a flat, fast course," she said, "so it's a good course for newer runners who want to try a 5K and for serious runners who want to run for a fast time.
Two of those serious runners have mixed their interest in best times with supporting the school. Two are parents of middle school students.
Corina Canitz and Marek Kotrly have won their respective gender divisions in past races, and both are parents whose interest in the event date back to its origin as the Hawk Walk/Run at Hillside Elementary. When the district closed that school, the event shifted to Wisconsin Hills for the first time last year. Hillside was a feeder school to Wisconsin Hills, so parent organizers saw it as a natural fit.
Both runners said they have alternated between running the event for time and running as a family event.
"I also help with the food for the day," said Canitz, "so I'm involved in a couple of ways. It's fun every year."
Canitz said she has an advantage in that she lives near Mitchell Park and regularly runs the course, making her familiar with the terrain.
Kotrly said the event gives him the opportunity to run all-out some years and participate with his family other years.
"We have six kids and four of them walk or run," Kotrly said. "It's all positive because it teaches them about being active and staying healthy."
Schweinert, also an active runner, said she looks forward to the day she can participate.
"There's so much to do that I can't run in the event," she said. "Some day, when I give up my organizational duties, I'll run. Until then, I'm happy to be able to make this as successful as it can be."
The only lack of success the event has endured is the weather. Schweinert said it has rained virtually every year.
"It has affected the number of people some years," she said. "We still get a lot of participation."
Healthy participation means effective fundraising. Wisconsin Hills Principal Robyn Martino welcomes that.
"First of all this is a wonderful family event," Martino said. "The event merges family and school. Also, the money that was raised last year helped the PTO put on our musicals and fund our other arts programs."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Run for the Hills Walk and Run
WHERE: Mitchell Park, River Road east of Barker Road
WHEN:1 to 3 p.m. April 28
REMEMBER: discounted registration until March 28
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