I couldn't help but laugh after reading the opening line on the Run the Reagan website. Under the heading "race information" was the following: "The 2012 Run the Reagan will be held Saturday, February 18th, rain, snow, ice or sunshine."
By now, the regulars are well aware of that. Having run through more than its fair share of bad weather over the years, including two years ago despite snow on the ground, the Reagan run basically has the same motto as the U.S. Postal Service. But race organizers have always known that comes with the territory of having a race in February (which is when you have to have it to tie it to Presidents Day weekend), and have lived with those possibilities while building a first-class event.
Feb. 18 will mark the seventh year Run the Reagan has been held since the event was brought back, and race organizers expect to top 3,000 runners and have a goal of 4,000. Between multiple races -- 5K, 10K, half marathon and two fun runs -- and a family festival featuring games and concessions, the event is billed as much more than a race.
"It truly is a family event," said Tom Mayfield, race coordinator. "While mom is running the 5K, the rest of the family can be playing at the family festival and the whole family can run or walk.
"It's very rewarding to see a community event of this size come together. It's fun and it also raises money for good causes."
Proceeds from the race go to two charities -- Young Life and the Gwinnett Community Clinic. And this year organizers are trying to up participation by offering a school team fundraising challenge. Local schools are encouraged to enter a team (which can include teachers, coaches, siblings, parents, etc.) representing the school. For each member of the team signed up online, the school will get a donation of $5 back (cost is $15 for fun runs, $25 for untimed 5K, $30 for timed 5K and 10K and $5 for half marathon) for each member of its team.
"If a school wants to get 100 people signed up it can make $500," Mayfield said. "It's a great way to raise money."
Volunteers are also needed, and those interested can sign up at www.runthereagan.net.
Mayfield said that while 4,000 runners is the goal for this year, he sees no reason why the race can't grow toward 10,000 in the future. But that's a ways off. For now the concentration is on Feb. 18 and the weather that may come with it.
"We've had both extremes -- freezing and warm," Mayfield said. "We'll be ready for whatever is served up."
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.