C.P. to assess impact of 5K runs on city resources

2013-03-31T17:45:00Z C.P. to assess impact of 5K runs on city resourcesSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | The growing popularity of mini marathons as fundraisers has city officials looking at the impact on municipal resources.

"We're not looking to limit the number of them," said Keith Stevens, Crown Point chief of staff. "But if this trend is going to continue, it's just good government to know what the impact is."

Stevens will research the economic and manpower consequence to police, fire, emergency management and other city resources of what typically is a run/walk of between one and three miles along city streets to raise money and draw attention to a cause.

With four runs approved already this year, "the whole goal is to just make sure that when we view these events and when we give approvals we make sure we have a true appreciation of what we're giving approval for," Stevens said.

Up to 20 Emergency Management Department members, who are paid per call, help manage traffic and handle emergencies in larger 5K runs, Director Kelly Miller said.

City police officers can be called on to direct traffic or patrol routes, and the Fire Rescue Department to provide emergency medical services, Stevens said.

"Almost all of the city departments get involved," Stevens said.

One of the largest, and possibly the longest running, is the Hub Run, now in its 33rd year.

The YMCA-sponsored event raised $25,000 after expenses last year, with more than 1,700 participants, said Chris Mallers, Southlake branch executive director.

The money funds memberships, classes and child care for qualified families who otherwise couldn't afford it and provides YMCA services to people with special needs, Mallers said.

The organization also posts volunteers of its own along the route to help with management, Mallers said.

"It's a huge collaborative effort between the city and us," Mallers said.

A November run planned by the Old Sheriff's House Foundation is a first for the organization, member David Maurer said.

The group, which restores and maintains the Old Lake County Jail and attached Sheriff's House, decided on a 5K after researching ways to fund projects.

"We feel the 5K is a good way to participate. It's a healthy way to be a part of the community," Maurer said.

A growing public appetite for maintaining a healthy lifestyle is helping to popularize 5K events, where participants run or walk up to 5,000 meters, or 3.1 miles, Crown Point officials said.

In looking at ways to manage the events more efficiently, the city could consider such measures as holding two or three smaller runs on a single day and along the same route, Stevens said. Recommendations will be based on the outcome of his research.

The Hub Run and Old Sheriff's House Foundation 5K were among four planned 5K runs approved by city officials so far this year.

Some years saw more, Stevens said.

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