Wilmington Athletic Club, Wilmington, N.C.
How do you tie together eco-friendliness, the '60s generation and community support with a healthy activity? The Summer of Love 5-Mile Run and 2-Mile Family Walk.
Hosted by the Wilmington Athletic Club, the event was held on July 12, 2008, with the primary goal to raise funds to support the Gary Hyman Memorial Fund, which equips the Wilmington Road Runners Club, an organization that supports and manages dozens of running events that benefit regional non-profit organizations throughout the year, including providing running scholarships to local youth.
The event was truly unique. During the Summer of Love Run/Walk, participants were welcomed back to an era of peace, love and harmony. Classic cars lined the entrance, while street performers tossed fire into the air. At Greenstock, participants freed themselves of old running shoes and electronics for recycling, and green company spokespeople taught how, together, people can make a difference. Later, says Assistant Manager Caitlin Tupper, "participants donned their organic race tees and '60s threads as they raced to be the first around the 5-mile run course (or 2-mile walk) and proudly earn a groovy lava lamp trophy." Post-event festivities included food and drinks, with participants "eating with utensils made from potatoes, off of plates made from sugar cane and tossing their garbage into biodegradable trash bags," Tupper says. "They finished their night with a far-out after-party, ... featuring live music from Zoso, the Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience."
To date, the Summer of Love event has raised more than $20,000, and the facility expects to be able to fully fund the running club's equipment needs. "We have also made considerable gains in membership as a result of the race," says Tupper. "Every entrant has the option of buying a short-term premium membership along with their entry; we have had over 20 people take advantage of this. Plus, the running community now considers us the place for runners to meet and train as a result of our commitment to the well-being of the Road Runners Club."