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This year will mark the end of the Run For Heroes race weekend in Amherstburg.
Last fall saw the end of the full 42K marathon course due to rising costs, but the half marathon, 10K and 5K and kids events will take place for the last time, this September.
“The most expensive race to produce due to high policing costs, and high infrastructural charges to barricade and pylon roads. That is why we suspended the full 42K marathon course last year further making it difficult to attract runners here,” said founder and race director Chris Uszynski.
Over the last four years Uszynski said they have brought over 6,000 participants, plus their families and friends totaling up to 15,000 to the Town of Amherstburg, but he said part of the problem was finding places for runners to stay.
Uszynski said that the race attracted runners from St John’s, Iqaluit, Victoria, Calgary, with high concentrations from Ottawa, London and the GTA. Runners also came from 30 states wit most from Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.
He said that for the past four years he has been in front of Amherstburg Town Council asking for help for them to develop and operate a billeting program to put runners into local homes. He said that billeting is very common at large events like the Olympics, Ironman or any large gathering that needs overnight stays.
“The nature of the runner is to look for unique destination type events to run, but the first thing they look for is how close can I stay to the start/finish line,” Uszynski said. “Here we have five bed and breakfasts and campground listed in our tourism guide. So they stay in Windsor 30 minutes away and wonder is it all worth it. For most not really and it is impeding the growth of the race and actually becoming a large detriment to participation.”
The race has also been both the single largest donor and fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Windsor Essex raising $153,000 to date.
There is still time to participate in this years race weekend which will be held on September 20th. More information can be found on their website.
“Thank you to all the amazing volunteers and the local businesses that have supported us thought the last number of years. Thank you for all you do making the tourist runners feel special during their visit,” said Uszynski.