If your New Year’s resolutions have anything to do with making the world a more caring place — or just upping the fitness factor a bit — there’s no better starting place than the Clark Public Utilities parking lot.
On Jan. 31, the lot will be the start and end of the second Race for Warmth, hosted by the utility with the support of several local businesses, including Area Heating & Cooling, Trane and New Tradition Homes.
“We want the race to be family-friendly and fun,” said Maxie Lofton, race organizer for the utility. “Last year, we had hundreds of participants of all ages, and after (the race), there was a party hosted by local businesses where we awarded the top finishers.”
In the past, donations from Clark Public Utilities customers and employees funded Operation Warm Heart. Now, the race contributes to that ongoing funding source.
Last year, about 600 runners and walkers covered the 5- and 10-kilometer routes. They raised $20,000 for the program that aids local families in financial crisis who are struggling to pay heating bills.
Since 1985, Operation Warm Heart has helped 11,000 families and provided about $2.4 million in grants to help make families with limited incomes comfortable during winter.
Contestants wanting to sign up can race over to RaceForWarmth.com and register online. Adult runners and walkers in both the 10K and 5K categories pay $30 to register. Kids can register for free online or at the event.
Like last year, starting times will be staggered. Kids will be the first to take to the road at 8:30 a.m. for a 400-meter dash around the parking lot lawn. The dash will be headed by a popular mascot borrowed from the Winterhawks this year. The Portland hockey team’s mascot, Tom-a-Hawk, will lead the way and each child will receive a medal and a goodie bag.
The 10K runners start competing at 9 a.m., and the 5K runners and walkers take off at 9:15 a.m. Both start at the utility parking lot on Fort Vancouver Way.
The 10K race is an out and back route along the waterfront and the new 5K route is a loop through downtown.
All races are timed and the top three male and female contenders in the 10K run, 5K run and the 5K walk will receive prizes.
RaceForWarmth.com provides race details and the course map.
“We’re planning for about 80 volunteers to help with the race and make it a fun morning for families,” said Lofton, “Registered entrants will receive long-sleeved performance T-shirts and a drawstring goodie bags. We will also award gift cards and baskets to bib numbers selected randomly.”
Other businesses partnering with the utility to help support the race include Columbia Credit Union, Chuck’s Produce, Burgerville, Beaches and Trusty’s Brewery. The credit union will provide several of the gift cards and prizes awarded.
“The Race for Warmth also features a ‘sleep in to stay warm’ option for people who’d like to help but don’t want to race,” Lofton said.
That means there’s no excuse for anyone occupied by work, religious services or just wanting to avoid getting wet or cold on a winter Sunday morning. Even if you’re not a walker or runner, you can “sleep in to stay warm” and still make a tax-deductible donation to help Clark County’s less fortunate have heat this winter. Simply go to www.raceforwarmth.com/Home/Donate to find the donation form.
For more about Operation Warm Heart visit www.clarkpublicutilities.com/index.cfm/payment-options/assistance-programs/operation-warm-heart.
Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to email@example.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.