ROCKINGHAM — Members of the Mangum Track Club and other runners are gearing up for the 2016 Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday — and these athletes will be pushing their limits for a good cause.
“We are asking all participants to donate pet food and cat litter,” said Jerry Lindstrand. “To date, $1,327 have been donated by registered participants, and that is earmarked for Richmond County Animal Advocates.”
Lindstrand said the group also donates money to the Rockingham Moose Lodge “who kindly allow camping on their property, free of charge.” He added that Saint James Catholic Church helps the runners out by fueling them with a pre-race pasta dinner.
“This year, we also donated to the Little People of America, and received bracelets and pamphlets for all participants to raise awareness of dwarfism,” he said.
The event, now in its 11th year, has 390 registered runners. The inaugural run in 2006 had 67 people out pounding the paths, and last year 314 people registered, according to Lindstrand.
“We cap the number of entrants at 400 so as to control the number of people on the trail, which can get a little crowded,” he explained. “And typically (we) don’t have race day signups, but we usually will make a few exceptions as we hate to turn away anyone.”
Registrations opened Jan. 1 this year, and Lindstrand said they reached full capacity in four hours.
“At one point we had 180 people on a wait list,” he said. “We do, however, encourage everyone to come out and volunteer at the aid station by filling and handing out drinks as well as keeping food and snacks readily available for the runners.”
The run’s largest sponsor is the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority, Lindstrand said, thanking them for supporting the event for the past six years.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.