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Half marathon will see runners take to the gravel roads of Wellesley Township on Sept. 23

Blair McKay with his daughter and granddaughter. McKayla and Tarah Korir are ready for the first Harvest Half Marathon in St.Clements on Sept. 13, a fundraiser for Kenyan Kids Foundation. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

Run Waterloo puts on plenty of racing events around the region all summer long, but this one is a little bit different.

For the third year in a row, the Harvest Half Marathon is coming to St. Clements, giving runners a chance to take a long jog on a gravel road, modeled after the training routes of Boston Marathon winner and Kenyan Member of Parliament Wesley Korir.

The half, and quarter marathon event raises money for the Kenyan Kids Foundation, started by Korir to benefit the children living in the village he grew up in, Cherangany, Kenya.

Along with Run Waterloo, Korir started the event in Wellesley Township, where his wife Tarah grew up, and has attracted runners of all abilities.

The running surface and the charity are what set this run apart from other half marathons.

“Korir is a big name in running, and he brings out a number of runners because he has trained on this course. It is on a gravel road, which they call the Kenyan Way. I think people get a thrill out of the gravel roads. It’s a bit softer and it isn’t so hard on the joints,” said Lloyd Schmidt, race director.

Run Waterloo has a charity picked for each race, and the Harvest is the only one benefiting a charity outside of the Waterloo Region.

“It is a worthy charity. The kids in that village in Kenya, they need a lot of help and the money goes right to them,” said Schmidt.

The event features the half marathon course, a rare quarter marathon course and the half-mile kids fun run for kids 12 and under, along with a pasta dinner the night before.

“I think the quarter marathon is quite unique. You don’t see runs at that distance very often,” said Schmidt, mentioning there would be a guest speaker at the pasta dinner. “It is going to be an Olympian. We are narrowing it down now. We are just checking schedules with them all coming back from Rio.”

Anyone in the community is invited to watch the run and cheer on the participants at 7:30 a.m. at the St. Clements arena on Sept. 23. The pasta dinner is open to the public as well, at the Calvary United Church in St. Jacobs.

Any runners out there who are on the fence about signing up, Schmidt says go for it, but make sure you are prepared.

“We would appreciate all the support, but a half marathon is a long run, so people shouldn’t just do it on a whim, but there is still enough time to train,” he said.

To register, view a map of the route, or get more details on the Harvest Half Marathon, visit www.raceroster.com/events.

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