Want to Run in Boston Marathon?

Post a Comment » Written on January 20th, 2006     
Filed under: News
HOPKINTON, MA (January 20, 2006) – Two distance runners among Covenanters throughout North America have the rare opportunity to enter this year’s April 17 Boston Marathon – and help raise money to send students from a small church to CHIC and Camp Squanto, a Covenant camp.

Although some 20,000 people run in the world’s oldest marathon (26 miles, 385 yards), entering the event is difficult because of the large number of individuals eager to secure a place. In addition to the $150 entrance fee, the applicant also must have run a qualifying time at a previously certified marathon.

Community Covenant Church, which is located in Hopkinton (where the race begins), interestingly enough was able to secure two racing numbers that will be offered to the general public as part of a creative fund-raising initiative, thanks in part to the efforts of the local police chief. That means the people who get them not only will avoid the $150 entry fee, but they also will not have to meet the marathon’s time qualifications requirement.

This story actually begins in the church parking lot a number of years ago. Because of the popularity of the race and the huge numbers of people descending on the city, vehicle parking is difficult to find and comes at a premium. Community Covenant found that it could raise important money to help fund its camping program by offering parking spaces at $5 each, as well as selling food on race day.

Times change. To help minimize congestion, the city arranged with a large computer manufacturing facility to use its parking areas free of charge, with city shuttle buses ferrying people to the race site. The city asked the church to discontinue use of its parking lot on race day.

The church agreed, which meant an immediate loss of some $1,500 for the camping fund, says pastor Bruce Johnson. At the same time, the 99-year-old church has been enjoying new growth with 12 teenagers (among its 80 attenders) who are eligible for the June CHIC event this year in Knoxville, Tennessee.

With the parking lot income gone, how does the church not only continue to support the camping program, but help the teens get to CHIC this year? “There really isn’t any way we can afford to support them,” says Johnson.

Enter the local police chief, who knew discontinuing the race day parking would hurt the camping fund. The chief arranged with marathon organizers to donate two race numbers to the church to use in a fund-raising effort.

The church will offer the numbers to two runners who raise money for the camping fund and CHIC trip, says Johnson. While not an “official charity,” the pastor noted that such charities seem to average $2,500 per person in raised funds. “We’re not saying that someone has to raise $2,500, just that it is the average.”

The church’s marathon committee will pick the race number recipients based on proposals received by February 15, says Johnson. Decisions will be made on the basis of what the runners project they will raise as well as the probability of the racers finishing the event.

For more information, or to propose a sponsorship, contact Johnson by email at ComCovHop@verizon.net, by telephone at 508-435-3723, or by regular mail at 2 West Elm Street, Hopkinton, MA, 01748.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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