The Romeo 2 Richmond Race is just around the corner on Sept. 18, and runners are entering their final stretch of training to be ready. Organizers of this year's race expect more than 500 participants.
According to a national running survey, running has increased 57 percent in the last ten years with many more races out there to accommodate all those runners. But who is benefiting from the increase in runners and running events?
Patch found businesses that support running events aren't necessarily winning the race, but they are winning the loyalty of their customers. And the real winners of this increased running phenomenon are the charities benefiting from running events.
There are several businesses in Shelby Township that are supporting the R2R race, which will be raising money for the Macomb Food Program. in Shelby Township will be providing hot coffee and drinks to runners at the start of the half marathon. Owner Dave Danyko has been giving back to the community at different races for years.
"Race sponsorship is a natural for me in that I am an on-and-off runner over the past 30 years," said Danyko. "As an individual, I can run an event and provide 10 bucks to charity, but as a sponsor I can help coordinate a couple hundred runners and provide 2,000 bucks to the charity."
Biggby Coffee will also be sponsoring the second annual Jingle Bell Run in December, which supports the Shelby Lions Club annual food basket program
Businesses choose to get involved to give back to the community. When they do so, they end up getting much more in return than if they had just paid for some advertising. Kevin Hanson, of , knows all about giving back to the community and gaining in return. He has been doing so for years with up to 35 races each year that Hansons Running Shop now gets involved with.
Hanson explained that Hansons will be providing the timing of both the Half Marathon and the 5K Run/Walk for the R2R. "I'm most excited about this race since it will be showing off the Macomb Orchard Trail, that we're so proud of. We will be doing the timing and giving gift certificates to Hansons as part of the awards," he said.
The public impression of seeing a company involved with a charity event goes a long way. Morgan Derouin is the running coach for Lifetime Fitness and spends her days coaching about 200 individuals from novice to elite. "Lifetime Fitness makes it easy for my group, 'Run Club' to get together. No one can deliver the experience that we can within four walls," said Derouin. will have almost 20 members participating in the race and will be supplying membership gift cards for participant door prizes at the R2R Race.
The big winner of the R2R race is the Macomb Food Program. The goal is to provide $10,000 to the food program, which will buy 70,000 meals for Macomb County families in need. The race's tagline "Running the Trail, Feeding the County" puts emphasis on the real winners of this race, the people of Macomb County who are in need.
"In Macomb County, over the last two years, we have seen an increase of over 50 percent in requests from families needing help with emergency food from the food pantries," said Sue Figurski, Macomb Food Program director.
"The Macomb Food Program is very grateful to all the runners, sponsors and others who help to make the event a success and allow us to continue to fulfill our mission to feed the hungry in Macomb County."