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Home Run for Homeless benefitting Gennesaret

11/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Gennesaret Inc.’s 22nd annual Home Run for the Homeless is set for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, in West Akron. Shown above is a previous year’s race.
Photo: Krista Galloway
WEST AKRON — Gennesaret Inc.’s 22nd annual Home Run for the Homeless will step off with a 1-mile fun run/walk and a 4-mile race on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. The course starts and finishes in front of Gennesaret’s Family Nutritional Center, 419 W. Exchange St.

According to Gennesaret officials, the organization is an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides transitional housing to adults and children and serves hot meals to an average of 600 individuals weekly. The organization is funded entirely from grants and individual contributions, and the Home Run event is its only fundraiser, with all proceeds going directly to serve those in dire financial straits through the Family Nutritional Center and family housing apartments.

Bob Dirgo, founder and president of Gennesaret, who also serves as a race director along with his wife, Mary Beth, said the event had more than 4,000 registered runners and walkers last year and raised $35,000.

Families and competitive runners are once again being invited to help raise funds for the organization.

The 1-mile fun run/walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. The 4-mile race will start at 9 a.m. and wind through Glendale Cemetery. The Akron Police Department will be on hand to regulate traffic and support the race, according to event officials.

Akron native Butch Reynolds, Olympic track gold medalist and former world-record holder, will return again to do the 1-mile run/walk and start the 4-mile race, according to event officials.

The top-three male and female finishers in 12 age divisions in the race will win awards, according to event officials. The first-, second- and third-place finishers also will receive a turkey, pumpkin pie and jam, respectively. First-place male and female finishers in the master (40-49) and grandmaster (50 and older) age divisions also will receive awards, according to event officials.

Officials state runners and walkers will get free fruit, baked goods and refreshments at the event. After the race, free door prizes, such as gift certificates from area retailers and restaurants, will be given away to runners. Raffle tickets also will be sold for unique prizes.

Runners also are invited to bring like-new toys, gently used running shoes and blankets for families in need.

According to event officials, the first 1,200 preregistered 4-mile runners will receive a free giveaway.

Participants in either the race or walk can register online at www.gennesaret.net.

The online race fee is $14 until Nov. 25 for individuals and $10 per person for a family rate. After Nov. 25, the online race fee is $20. Race-day registration will be available from 7:15 to 8:45 a.m. Registration for the fun run/walk is $2 per person.

Prerace registration and packet pickup will be Nov. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Vertical Runner, 112 N. Main St. in Hudson, and Nov. 27 from noon to 6 p.m. at Gennesaret’s Family Nutritional Center.

A map of the course for the race, parking and parking shuttle service information is available at the above website.

According to event officials, Gold-level sponsors for Home Run for the Homeless are: Vertical Runner; Suburban Maintenance and Construction; Summa Health System; Pepsi; Main Street Gourmet; North Akron Savings Bank; Salt Fork Lodge & Conference Center; Giant Eagle; Mustard Seed Market and Café; Papa Joe’s Iacomini’s; Maggiano’s Little Italy; The Cheesecake Factory; Outback Steakhouse; and Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

For more details, call 330-309-7999.

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