Clark Public Utilities is set to host the seventh annual Race for Warmth in a distanced and individual fashion, from Friday, Jan. 29, to Sunday, Jan. 31. Over the weekend, racers all over Clark County and beyond will be participating in the race from the safety of their homes, neighborhoods and personal routes.
“This will work however you want it to,” Clark Public Utilities Marketing and Events Specialist Maxie Mayer said. “We have a list of trails all over Clark County on our website. You can treadmill it, run laps at home, do an old (Race for Warmth) route or go to a park.”
The annual race raises money for Operation Warm Heart, a financial assistance program to help pay electric bills for those in need.
“I love the cause (of Operation Warm Heart) because it fills the gap. It is available to families or people that don’t qualify for state assistance but are still in a difficult time when something happens and they need help,” she said. “It is 100 percent customer and employee funded.”
Since its inception in 1985, more than $4 million in financial assistance has been given to 16,000 local families with the Race for Warmth raising over $275,000 throughout its six-year history. Last year, more than 1,500 people came to the race and raised over $60,000. Mayer is hoping to make a similar mark on the program with this year’s race.
Despite changes to the annual event, over 750 have already signed up for the race, with Mayer After a $30 online registration, participants get a long-sleeve performance shirt, a participation medal, a bib number and a drawstring bag filled full of merchandise.
“Everything from beanies, to cookies and bubbly waters to a free pint of beer from Heathen,” she said.
After signing up, all participants have an option to donate additional funds to the Operation Warm Heart program. Those who want to support Operation Warm Heart without hitting the pavement can contribute via the Sleep in to Stay Warm online donation option. Money for the program can also be donated at Burgerville locations around the county from Jan. 18 to 31. Last year, $15,000 was raised at the Burgerville drive-thrus.
Along with the bag filled with participation gear, Mayer said the utility is upping its social media presence for the event and is inviting participants to post along with them.
“We have gotten five gift baskets donated from our partner to give out to five random people that engage with us on social media,” she said.
For Mayer, the hardest part about planning the race was missing out on the social aspects of the in-person event.
“I really enjoy the social aspect of the race. Some of my favorite stories from this event are from people that come to participate because they’ve had assistance from Operation Warm Heart in the past,” Mayer said. “I’m really missing the employees and participation (this year).”
Mayer is excited to get the event off the ground and connect with employees of the utility and community members alike.
“Our quote has been ‘coming together, virtually apart,’” she said. “I was so excited when we saw registrations starting back in October. It makes me really excited. I’ve missed our events and this is my all time favorite.”