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Unique running event in Bath set for Nov. 9

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

BATH — The first Bath Steeplechase 8K Cross Country Run will take place Nov. 9.

“This is our inaugural event, and we would like for it to be an annual event. We’ve been planning it for about a year now to try to get everything organized,” said Pam Reitz, co-chair of the Bath Steeplechase Committee and president of the Bath Community Development Corp. (Bath Park Board). “It is an 8K, which is a little under 5 miles, and we tried to set ourselves apart a bit from your average 5K run or half marathon-type run. This event is based kind of on the rich equestrian history of the former Firestone property, which is now the Bath Nature Preserve.”

According to Reitz, runners will travel through the Bath Community Activity Center (1615 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road), under North Cleveland-Massillon Road and through the Bath Nature Preserve (4160 Ira Road) while “encountering low hurdles, stream crossing, jumps and other obstacles — a bit reminiscent of the days when the fox hunts took place on the properties.”

“This event will promote the natural beauty of the Bath Nature Preserve,” she stated. “There will be various obstacles — small jumps but no major hurdles. And if someone is challenged by those, they can go around them.”

Reitz said the event, a collaboration between the Bath Park Board and the Summit Athletic Running Club, has been well received by the community during the planning stages.

“We’ve had really good support from the township, the township officials, Bath Fire, Bath Police, the township trustees and the business organizations in the community in general,” she said.

Through Oct. 28, more than 100 people had signed up for the event, Reitz said, and the event’s organizers have put a cap on the number of people who can participate in this year’s 8K at 400.

“Every day, we get more and more registrations, and being our first year, we want to limit the number of runners just because of all of the logistics,” she said. “Jim Chaney is consulting with us for all the race course logistics and certification. He has worked with the Akron Marathon in the past and is in the process of planning another new event, The [Pro] Football Hall of Fame Marathon, next spring. Jim’s experience brings a high level of expertise to our event.”

The preferred deadline to sign up for the event is Nov. 8 at midnight, Reitz said. However, runners officially will be able to sign up until shortly before the race begins — or until all of the spots are taken.

“We will have on-site registration, if available,” she said. “But we would like people to preregister, obviously, because that gives us a better handle on things.”

Runners can sign up at www.bathsteeplechase8k.com. The cost to participate in the Bath Steeplechase 8K Event is $40 for runners 18 and older or $20 for those 17 and younger. On the day of the race, the costs rise to $50 and $25, respectively.

All racers will receive a “goodie bag” that includes a polo shirt featuring the event’s inaugural logo and snacks and surprises, Reitz said.

“The purpose for this event is to raise funds above and beyond the basic operating budget for the Bath Park Board to do things to support activities in the park,” she said. “For instance, we would like to be able to purchase our own hay wagon. We have Fall Into Nature, and we have borrowed a hay wagon from Lorain Metro Parks the last couple years, but we would like to purchase something like that for the park. It’s kind of an extra thing that we could use to take community groups on a hayride into the Nature Preserve to see things they wouldn’t see from a foot trail.”

In addition to the 8K race, there also will be a 2K family fun run/walk that day, Reitz noted.

“We’re promoting day-of registration for that, and it’s a $10 donation per family,” she said. “It’s for mom, dad, kids, grandparents or whoever. The 8K is for serious competitive runners, and the 2K family fun run is just that. It’s a way to get people outdoors to enjoy the park.”

The 8K race is scheduled to start at noon, Reitz said, and the 2K event will start approximately five minutes later.

For additional information about the Bath Steeplechase 8K Event or the 2K family fun run/walk, visit the website.

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