Registration is open for the third annual Run For The Heroes, a 260-mile run May 25-29 across Georgia beginning at the National Infantry Museum and ending in downtown Savannah, Ga.
The run is led by local ultra-marathoner John Teeples and will be capped with a post-race festival at Emmet Park near Savannah’s Vietnam Memorial.
All runners must complete the race by 10 p.m. May 29.
House of Heroes receives 100 percent of the race proceeds, which go toward making repairs and improvements to homes of elderly or disabled military and public safety veterans and their spouses in the tricommunity.
Since 2000, the nonprofit organization has repaired the homes of more than 416 veterans through a collaborative effort between 2,000 volunteers, employees, youth groups, local students and Fort Benning Soldiers, said Susan Gerkin, executive director for the charity’s Chattahoochee Valley chapter.
This year, race organizers said they hope to raise $75,000, up nearly 50 percent from last year. The donations would cover the cost of repairing 50 homes.
The race will begin at 4 a.m. May 25 and is broken into three categories for participants: Relay team, individual and ultra-distant.
The relay category is the most popular, Teeples said, and is most suitable for runners used to completing 5- to 10-kilometer runs.
Teams can have up to eight members and the race is broken into 5- to 7-mile legs. Relay teams are self-supported, meaning the team is responsible for providing its own crew. Crews track progress, offer encouragement and provide meals, water, ice and rides to hotel accommodations each night.
The individual race is a five-day staged race, with runners covering between 45 and 60 miles per day. Runners have the option of a self-supported race or fully supported race with Teeples’ crew. For the fully supported package, runners must raise $2,500 in donations. The all-inclusive package includes overnight accommodations for six nights, meals, shuttle services, return trip to Columbus the day after the run, race shirt and additional awards.
The ultra-distant race is for seasoned runners only and begins May 26. This is a self-supported run and runners are given four days to finish. Teeples said the concept is to “get there as fast as you can.”
All finishers receive a race shirt.
For more information, to register, donate or download maps and race guides, visit www.runfortheheroes.com.For more information on House of Heroes, visit www.houseofheroes.org.
Teeples, a longtime volunteer with the House of Heroes, said he’s seen firsthand the benefits a little repair work can do for a disabled veteran with limited income.
“These folks have fundamental needs that haven’t been met they can’t get in and out of their house without a handicap ramp, they can’t get into bathrooms because the doors aren’t wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair some of the basic requirements they need in order to live day-to-day,” Teeples said. “It’s a real, significant need and it feels good to be able to go out there and help meet their needs.”
As a construction company owner and co-owner of Big Dog Running Company, Teeples has found a way to combine both of his passions. The ultra-marathoner teamed with House of Heroes in 2009 for the inaugural Run For The Heroes Run Across Georgia.
Teeples said the purpose of the race is four-fold: to increase awareness about House of Heroes, drum up volunteers, encourage veterans in need to come forward and to raise donations to purchase materials.
In 2009, he planned a slightly longer trek that ended when he reached the Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Island, Ga. Last year, the race ended near Emmet Park in downtown Savannah to coincide with the city’s Armed Forces Festival. This year, race organizers have planned a festival at Emmet Park with live music, food and awards.