Volunteer for Race for Literacy

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, most people will be still digesting their turkey dinner, lamenting their football team’s loss on Thursday or wrapping their Black Friday purchases.

However, what better way to celebrate what you’re thankful for than to volunteer?

Although there are many organizations that need volunteers for the holidays, the 2008 Race for Literacy, sponsored by the Suffolk News-Herald and benefiting the United Way, is in need of volunteers for the day of the race, Nov. 29.

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“Runners enjoy races because of the people that put them on as much as they enjoy the race itself,” News-Herald Publisher Jesse Lindsey said.

About 60 to 80 volunteers are needed the day of the race to help set up the course; to sign in runners; to hand out water, Gatorade and energy bars along the course; and to clean up after the race, among other things, Lindsey said. About 300 to 500 runners are expected for the half-marathon, 5K and 1-mile fun run.

“It’s a pretty big undertaking,” Lindsey said. “Non-runners that want to participate can (do so) by helping out at aid stations, water stations and signing people up.”

The race will begin at the Tidewater Community College campus at 7000 College Drive, Portsmouth, at 10 a.m. The course winds through Suffolk’s modeling and simulation corridor, a golf course and neighborhoods. An expo and race celebration will be held after the event, featuring music, food and children’s activities.

The proceeds from the race will be given to the United Way for its Raising a Reader program, which encourages early literacy in Suffolk.

People who want to volunteer can call the United Way at 539-1498, or Lindsey at 934-9611. However, those who forget to call are welcome to just show up the day of the race, Lindsey said.

“No volunteer will be turned away,” he said. “That’s our policy.”

Lindsey said that volunteering at the Race for Literacy could be the perfect way to start a new family tradition.

“We’re going to do this every year.”