When veterans turn to the VFW for financial assistance, the cupboard isn’t always full. Sometimes the VFW can’t help a veteran in need with a utility bill or an unexpected medical expense.
VFW officials want that to change.
Registration is under way for the first Patriot Half Marathon to be held in Warren County on Saturday, March 16. The 13.1-mile race will start and finish at VFW Post 5064 on Sparta Highway and begin at 9 a.m.
“We want to create an emergency fund for our veterans,” said VFW representative Mike Menth. “People will come to our post and ask for help with a car expense or a medical bill. This is our inaugural race, but we want this to be an annual event to support our emergency fund and we’ll distribute those funds as they’re needed.”
The Patriot Half Marathon is expected to be a bells-and-whistles event. Menth says there will be a military theme with big-band music and the hope is to have military vehicles on hand for viewing.
“We want to highlight Warren County and take care of our veterans in the process,” said Menth. “It’s an absolutely beautiful course and we’ve had a lot of interest.”
Long-distance runner Rhonda Galligan is providing assistance as a race organizer and says participants have already registered from Maine, Memphis and Clarksville, to name a few locations. She has been canvassing the area with VFW officials and says several businesses have been generous with their monetary donations. She says 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit veterans.
Registration is currently taking place online at Reg2Run.com. The entry fee is $43 with no refunds. Those who register before Feb. 15 will receive a T-shirt. Registration will be available after Feb. 15, but a T-shirt is not guaranteed.
Professional timing will be provided by A Matter of Timing. The scenic course will take runners down Shellsford Road to McGee Cove Road. The return to the VFW will be primarily on Spencer Road, turning back onto Sparta Highway.
Participants are asked to be able to finish the race in under four hours, a pace of about 3.3 mph. Every participant will receive a medal and trophies will be awarded to top finishers in 11 age categories.
For more information, contact Menth at 668-9138.