Runners, joggers, walkers, and strollers will all hit the pavement for the Sixth Annual “Race to the Rocker” at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 22 in Cuba. The four-mile, straight-shot run starts at the Mizell Funeral Home at 904 W. Washington and heads out to the unique 42-foot-tall steel rocking chair that sits next to historic Route 66 at the Fanning 66 Outpost.
Anyone and everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate or attend this event, sponsored by JOG, Inc. (Joggers of God, In Cuba). The race from historic uptown Cuba to the site of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Fanning is one that has steadily grown in popularity for a variety of reasons, with both new and old participants taking part each year. Proceeds from the event go to support local charities each year.
But it’s not only the running and the gifts to charities that make this a special event in Crawford County. As the race has continued to grow, organizers have heard stories about how deeply it has affected some of the individual participants. So, this year, they sent out a call for personal accounts of what the “Race to the Rocker” has meant to them.
These inspirational stories of personal triumph, dogged determination, and life-changing decisions have been shared as the race approaches. These stories are written by the participants, so readers can hear, in their own words, the impact of this event on their lives. Organizers hope that this year’s event will inspire new stories for the future.
Registration information and additional details about the event are available on the organization’s website at www.jog-inc.com.
Don and Lesa Mizell: Proud to Be the Starting Line
Mizell Funeral Home has been the meeting, registration, and beginning place of the Race to the Rocker for the last five years, and it will be again this year.
Having the opportunity to watch the amount of people growe each year has been amazing. “Not even sleet keeps them away.”
The first year, getting everyone a chance to the restroom was hectic, but with the Cuba United Methodist Church’s help and portable potties delivered, that issue was solved.
Parking was the second hurdle that had to be addressed, for there isn’t a big enough parking lot to park everyone. But with the buses picking most of the runners up at the Cuba High School, that issue was solved.
The committee that works year round on the Race to the Rocker does a great job making sure everyone is taken care of and any issues this year are resolved by the next year.
To be the place that everyone starts arriving at on a Saturday morning in March, before the sun rises, is just a great opportunity to give back to the community. We feel proud to be the starting point for the Race to the Rocker.
Dan Sanazaro: The Man with the Finish Line
In the fall of 2008, Brad Austin of JOG, Inc. approached me about a race that would finish at the rocker. I said, “Sounds great. Let’s do it.” That was the birth of the “Race to the Rocker” as far as Fanning 66 Outpost was concerned.
I thought to myself that it was really nice of him to end this race at our store. Then he told me what our portion of the donation would be. That’s when I figured out it was a community event that would help make lots of things happen for different programs.
We are glad to be a part of this great event as a sponsor and finish line. The rocker is owned by Fanning 66 Outpost, but it belongs to Route 66 and the community. I don’t know if it will always be the largest in the world, but it will always be the Route 66 Rocker.
It’s been fun to watch the race over the years—all the different people, costumes and teams. My favorite so far was the firemen running in full gear. That was impressive! It’s inspiring to see the people who finish the race that maybe all along the way had to keep telling themselves they could make it. I see a lot of people who have done it every year, but there are also new faces.
JOG, Inc. is a great group to work with. They set this race up and break it down fast. By one in the afternoon, you can’t even tell they were here. Brad Austin leads his group well, but one little known fact about Brad is that he cannot back up a trailer. It’s kind of funny to watch him. In fact, the whole Friday set up and Saturday race is fun to watch.
In the summer of 2015, the rocker is going to get a new paint job, and we are considering a contest of some kind of who can come up with the new look. So, while you’re here at the outpost this year, run some ideas in your head and look for the contest to begin early in 2015. “Like” us on Facebook for updates, have a great race, and we look forward to the Sixth Annual Race to the Rocker.