1,000 runners on board for Butler-Freeport Community Trail benefit
With 1,000 runners, this year's Buffalo Creek Half Marathon is set to be the largest ever.
The 13.1 mile run is the main fundraiser for the Butler-Freeport Community Trail, on which the race takes place.
For the first time, organizers had to close registration early when participation reached the 1,000-runner cap three weeks before the Oct. 20 race. The event is in its seventh year.
“It's a good problem to have,” said Chris Ziegler, president of the Butler-Freeport Community Trail Board of Directors. “The first year we had 174 runners.”
This year's race will raise about $30,000 for the trail, she said. Half of the money — about $15,000 — will pay for a crushed limestone surface for the five miles of trail between Bonniebrook Road in Summit Township and Marwood Road in Winfield.
“The surface is 20 years old and grass grows over it and we have to scrape it off, and when it rains there's a little ponding,” Ziegler said. “It's time to freshen it up.”
The race also pays for basic upkeep of the 20-mile trail, which costs about $10,000 a year, including incidental repairs, port-a-johns, advertising and brochures.
Art Borland, 82, of Jefferson Township, a volunteer that helps upkeep the trail, said the race has been a “phenomenal” event to promote the trail.
“The trail is well-used and people seem to love it,” he said.
Another first this year is a rectangular “finishers medal” for everyone who completes the half marathon. Ziegler thinks it helped draw more people to the race this year.
The medal, which features this year's race logo, was made by Carson Home Accents of South Buffalo Township.
“The runners have always wanted one,” Ziegler said. “We figured, ‘let's give the runners a little more incentive this year.'”
The half marathon is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the Winfield Township building and finish at Riverside Drive in Freeport.
Borland said race day is an exciting one for the volunteers who work the event as well as for the communities.
“It's just a wonderful community thing to be involved with,” he said.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.