Race for Literacy ready for start

Published 11:53 pm Friday, October 2, 2009

Just a little more than 10 months after its inaugural run, the Race for Literacy comes back to Suffolk on Sunday, with more than 300 runners expected to hit the road to help fight adult illiteracy.

Starting and finishing at the Hilton Garden Inn located in North Suffolk’s Harbour View area, the event is intended to raise money for the Raising a Reader program and to showcase the homes, business and industry of that area, according to organizers.

This will be the second year that the United Way of South Hampton Roads has held the event, which features, a 10-miler, a 5K and a one-mile Fun Run this time around.

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Organizers originally got interested in hosting such an event when they learned that Suffolk has an adult illiteracy rate that tops 30 percent, race co-director Beth Cross said Friday.

Runners must register and pay a fee to participate in the races, and the money that is collected supports literacy programs in the city, Cross said.

The Raising a Reader program, she explained, helps put books in the hands of children who might not own any others.

“It’s usually a pre-K program, but we’re trying to move it into kindergarten,” she said.

Last year’s Race raised about $12,800, Cross said. The total was below initial expectations, but it was still a good first effort, she added. This year, the Race committee hopes to raise about the same amount of money.

Last year’s race was run on a Saturday at the end of November amidst a cold, drizzling rain. This year’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 70s.

Registration is still available online at http://unitedwayshr.org/raceforliteracy. Race-day registration is available Sunday beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing through the start of the Harbour View 10-miler at 8:30 a.m., when racers will be outfitted with Race T-shirts and numbers and lined up at the starting gate.

The kids’ Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K starts at 9:30 a.m.

There will be an awards ceremony at the Hilton Garden Inn at 11 a.m. Cross said the new hotel, which is the premier sponsor of the event, also plans to offer pre- and post-race refreshments.

“We’ve had huge support from the city of Suffolk and the Hilton Garden Inn,” she said. “It’s just refreshing.”