By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Runners and walkers take your mark — the 8th annual Heritage Days Fun Run is sure to bring together the ultra-competitive and social runners/walkers as it gets under way bright and early Saturday morning outside of Portales’ Yam Theater on South Main Street.
“Don’t kid yourself,” MainStreet president Danny Woodward warned. “Everybody gets out there and then their competitive nature kicks in. We’ve got a lot of people who just kind of talk it down (and say things like), ‘Well, I’m just there to hope I finish,’ but when the gun goes off, you can see their competitive nature.”
The event consists of a 5K run/walk (3.1 miles) and a 10K run (6.2 miles). The race time is 8 a.m., with proceeds to benefit the restoration of the Yam as well as other Portales MainStreet projects.
The run will follow the same path as in previous years, starting and ending in front of the Yam, while the 10K runners will run the route twice.
“The community itself has gotten behind the MainStreet program,” Portales MainStreet board member Steve Doerr said. “The changes that MainStreet is going through has gotten a lot of people excited about it.”
Woodward said while the number of participants has increased every year, organizers are concerned that record high gas prices may negatively impact runners who come from around New Mexico and west Texas.
As of Tuesday night, at least 30 runners had registered — Woodward hopes at least 50 sign up by the time the race starts.
For the first time in the event’s history, organizers have secured a single major corporate sponsorship from Burger King, and according to event organizers, the hamburger chain will cover the cost of the run.
“The one thing good about our Fun Run is we’ve always had volunteers,” Doerr said. “We’ve had a lot of people show up to participate, to help pass out water and we usually have about 10-15 sponsors to help defray the cost.”