Planning for the fifth annual Great Pumpkin Race is nearing the finish line for volunteers and coordinator Kelly Linnens as the Oct. 19 race date draws near.
Patrons young and old dress up and take part in the 5K at 9 a.m., and ¼-mile kid’s race at 9:30 a.m. Some come as their favorite TV or movie character, some as a super hero, and one as an empty toilet paper roll said Linnens.
“That was probably my favorite, most creative costume yet. He was a toilet paper roll with one piece left,” Linnens said. “He had to run the entire race in a tube, which could not have been easy.”
The race, sponsored by First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro, began as a pumpkin patch to raise money for new playground equipment. Five-years ago a race was added.
“We got tired of baby-sitting pumpkins for three weeks, so we decided to just do the race,” Linnens said. “We raise the same amount of money for less work.”
After raising money needed for the playground, church members decided to donate the funds from the race to Main Street Ministries. Last year $2,400 and more than 100 lbs. of canned goods were raised for the safe house and food bank.
“We call it exercise for a purpose,” Linnens said. “We have a large local turnout. Local people like to support local charities.”
Medals and trophies are awarded to those that place in their age groups. After patrons can enjoy homemade pumpkin themed and flavored baked goods made by church members.
“The women of the church have made around 400 pumpkin muffins for this year,” he said.
Door prizes will also be awarded.
“We usually have 100 to 150 people who participate from all over,” Linnens said. “We like to have something for everyone to win, even if they don’t get a medal.”
Linnens said the race is popular because parents can finish the 5K in time to watch their kids run in the ¼-mile.
“It’s a great way to get the whole family involved and the costumes make it light hearted,” Linnens said. “It’s also a great way to get another day of wear for Halloween costumes.”
Participants can pre register by visiting the church’s website http://fmchillsboro.com, or can register at the event beginning at 7:30 a.m. Guests who want a T-shirt are encouraged to sign up before Oct. 10.