Elmira runners have two chances this month to lace up their sneakers for a good cause.

The Economical ENDURrace runs for the following two Saturday evenings, with a 5-km race on Apr. 22 and an 8-km race on Apr. 29.

Runners are encouraged to fundraise for the Woolwich Counselling Centre as part of their participation in the race or races, with 100 per cent of the fundraising going to WCC. Any proceeds from the event will be split between WCC and Run Waterloo.

This is the 15th year for the Run Waterloo event, which has been held in various locations in the region over the years.

Run Waterloo spokesperson Jordan Schmidt says they’ve finally settled on Elmira as the ideal location for the races.

“Some of our events rotate charities and in the past this event has supported charities that are based in Waterloo. So this year we were looking specifically for a charity based in Woolwich Township, and then we consulted with the presenting sponsor, Economical Insurance, to find a good fit for the race, and we settled on Woolwich Counselling Centre,” Schmidt said.

The race is a favourite among many runners because of the flat course, allowing runners of all ages to complete it, and for serious runners to set personal bests early in the running season. It’s the same course as in previous years.

This is the first year the races have supported a Woolwich charity.

“They’re a great organization run on a small, tight budget and they know that an event like this – a good longstanding event in the community that can hopefully raise some money for the charity as well as just generally bring some excitement and exposure to their causes – I think was definitely something that they were very interested in doing and we’re hoping on turning this into an annual thing,” he said.

They have over 100 people signed up to run both, plus 136 others signed up for one of the two races. He says this is already ahead of last year’s registration.

The appeal for many runners is a race which they can use to test their fitness or set a fast time due to the flat terrain to qualify for other running events later in the season.

“People can use it for any amount of goal setting, whether we’re talking about racing against a field where there is prize money for the combined events, as well as people just racing age groups or just racing against yourself,” he said.

They also started a learn-to-run group in Elmira for the first time this year. This week marked the group’s tenth and final week.

They sold all of the spots in the group, with the majority being Elmira women in their 30s.

“So far they’re having a lot of fun, they’ve built a little bit of a community around it where they have running partners in the town to run with and train with, and learn to run with. That’s been a big success. It’s something we’ve never done before in Elmira,” he said.

Residents are welcome to come watch the race and see runners who will be finishing in as quickly as 16 minutes for the 5-km race this weekend.

“It’s great for spectators to have a steady stream of people coming in. Even for a race as short as a 5-km, people will be finishing for more than half an hour. As long as the weather’s good then it’s a great environment.”

The 5-km race is this Saturday at 6 p.m. starting at Lions Hall. Registration ended earlier this week for the 5-km race, but is still open until Apr. 26 for the 8-km race on Apr. 29 at the same time and location at www.runwaterloo.com.

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