|Organizers happy with 2012 Race to the Rocker|
|Written by Chris Case|
|Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:49|
It’s the biggest footrace in Crawford County, and race organizer Brad Austin hopes it stays that way and keeps getting bigger.
The 2012 Race to the Rocker on Route 66 was a huge success, with more participants than ever before. There were 956 signed up for the race and 829 who actually participated on race day. Those are big numbers, up from the 770 who signed up in 2011 and 500-plus who ran.
“We had set a goal for ourselves of 1,000 signups. We fell short of that and were a bit disappointed, but overall it was certainly a success this year,” Austin said. “The event just seems to keep on growing and that’s all we hope for.”
JOG, inc., the local running club that sponsors and organizes the annual four-mile race from Cuba to Fanning, works hard to make the Race to the Rocker something special. “We shoot for overkill,” explained Austin. “Many of us have been to the big city races—the marathons and half-marathons—and we’re just trying to give local folks that same kind of experience. We want it to be the kind of race that people enjoy participating in and look forward to every year.”
Adding in the little extras—such as gift giveaways to the runners, a pre-race expo featuring 25 different sponsors, and a spaghetti dinner for all participants—are the kinds of things that Austin says makes the rocker run more than just another race. “We learn something every year and take something new away from it to use next year,” he said. “We’ve been able to appeal to a wide variety of people, local and otherwise, so that we end up with a great cross section of people running—adults, kids, older folks. We had more spectators this year than we’ve ever had, and that was very nice.”
There were few complications with this year’s run, thanks in great part to sunny skies. Last year’s race was marred by rain, wind, and by the end of the run, falling snow. Organizers had rented heaters and tents for the finish line area in case of bad weather, but when the forecast proved positive, the rentals were cancelled. Austin said more water was purchased to compensate for the warm weather on race day. “These are the types of last-minute adjustments you have to make every year. You just never know what the weather will do, so you have to be ready to make changes on the fly,” he stated.
With the increase in racers, the race itself generated more cash. In total, Austin reported that this year’s race will result in a little over $19,000 for the nonprofit JOG organization. The money will be contributed to a couple of different causes, including the Friday Backpack Program at Cuba Schools and for new weightlifting equipment at the high school weight room. Some cash is kept in reserve and rolled over to help with next year’s race expenses, while JOG, inc. also sponsors two $500 scholarships for CHS graduating seniors. Other funds are being reserved as a group looks at the feasibility of converting the old rail line from Cuba to Viburnum into a public walking trail.
It was a great year for the Race to the Rocker and will be difficult to top next year, but Austin looks forward to the challenge. “It is great being in an environment where you can have a shared vision for what we’re all trying to accomplish—and that is to put on the best race we possibly can for people,” he said. “It’s a blast for me. Is it stressful? Yes, but it’s also so gratifying in the end. I have never lived in a community quite like Cuba, a place so willing to help out and work together to make things happen. It has really been a nice surprise for me and I’m glad to call Cuba home.”
Dale Young Jr., 40, of Steelville, won this year’s Race to the Rocker, finishing in 24:16. Jamie Vest, 25, of Lebanon, had the top women’s finish time in 25:16. The winning team, using a combined time, was Life’s a Breach, its five members finishing in 2:10:59. Complete results from the race, both individual and team times, can be found online at www.bigriverrunning.com/raceresults.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 April 2012 17:43|