Berry completes his speech and immediately apologizes.
“I don't mean to knock other races; they're great for our running community and for fitness,” Berry says. “We just want to raise money for sick kids. And if you can't run our race, then run another charity race.”
The seventh running of the Run 4 Riley 5-miler and 5K walk is Oct.13 at Maple Creek Middle School and by all accounts, it's been very successful. In fact, if the event raises as much money as last year, it will top the $100,000 mark in funds raised over the seven years. But like all race directors with a purpose, Berry wants more. He wants more runners, more funds and awareness raised.
“I never thought about (the $100,000 mark) when I started this race. I just hoped to start something that would last,” Berry said. “It has been great getting here, but we should be able to do more.”
Berry said the race quickly zoomed to the 600-participant range by its fourth year but then has leveled off. This irks him.
“If we served beer at the race, we'd have a thousand runners,” Berry said. “If we spray-painted people, we'd have over a thousand. I look at what our race offers and there is no reason we shouldn't get to 1,000.”
He has a point. For the $25 entry fee, participants get a long-sleeve technical pull-over running shirt, a full-course meal by Casa, a dessert bar and a goody bag. Oh, and most importantly, the promise that 100 percent of their entry will go straight to Riley Hospital for Children. In fact, entry-fee checks should be made out to the hospital.
“We've never taken a dime of entry money,” Berry said. “We hold to our pledge because of our great sponsors.”
Berry also points to the support of Barb Richards, who has assisted in the promotion of the event and served on the northeast Indiana committee for Riley Hospital.
The race begins at 2 p.m. in front of Maple Creek and Perry Hill Elementary (along Coldwater Road, just north of Union Chapel Road). Entry forms can be found at www.runforriley.org and www.fwtc.org and must be postmarked by Monday. Runners and walkers can also register at packet pickup, which will be held noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at Max Fitness, 1415 Dupont Rd. There will be no race-day registration.
Race entry isn't the only way to support Run 4 Riley. At www.runforriley.org there are “Giving Pages” set up for people to donate and/or raise money. And on race day there will be a silent auction held during the post-race meal as well as opportunity to buy previous years' race shirts for $5.