HORSESHOE BEND -- After a trio of marathon-running moms saw a need for funding for their rural school district, they hit the trails with an idea.
These fleet-footed fundraisers planned to convince others to run a major race in Horseshoe Bend for a simple reason: the Horseshoe Bend School District has twice attempted to get voters to approve a levy to increase school funding, and twice it has failed -- this year alone.
They say parents of kids in Horseshoe Bend Schools are now becoming increasingly worried about budget cuts in their district and how they might impact their children.
So, suspecting the levy might fail months ago, Lillie Crawford, Melanie Flake, and Malissa Meyer began hatching a plan to help the district financially -- a plan that doesn't include a vote.
RAISING CASH THROUGH RUNNING
Their plan actually includes a run, more specifically, a grueling half-marathon.
"We all just got together and decided we have to do something," said mom and runner Lillie Crawford. "This cannot...we can't let this happen."
For six years, Crawford and her two friends Melanie Flake and Malissa Meyer have run together, even completing marathons. She says during their runs, the three friends always talk.
One of the things they've always talked about is putting on a race in Horseshoe Bend.
"We've talked about this for years -- that we should sponsor a race and get the community involved just to bring people to get to know this community," Flake said. "Then as the school was struggling with budget cuts and then the levy didn't pass, we felt like, well we could probably do this, and we could probably raise enough money and get enough support financially, that all the proceeds from the race could go towards our school and really help out our community."
"We all just kind of decided somebody needs to do something, and why not be us?" Crawford said. "All three of us are avid runners, and we kind of know this, and people do make some money with racing. So we thought, let's form a non-profit organization, and let's get some money for the school."
THE RACE 2 THE SUMMIT
On Saturday, September 29th, the marathon moms plan to hold 'The Race 2 the Summit,' which will include a kids fun run, 5K, 10K, and the big challenge -- the half marathon -- a run that could rival the Race to Robie Creek.
"So it's going to be tough; it's going to be brutal," Crawford said.
Meyer has already tried tried out the route twice, and she says it's an intense run that will be a fun challenge for runners up to it.
"This run here, running up to the summit, it's going to take your breath away," Meyer said.
While hitting the roads, these moms have thought of everything, from t-shirts to time chips, and they're getting a lot of help with sponsors too.
"It's amazing at how many people say 'Absolutely, what do you need? We'll help you out. No problem," Crawford said.
The moms hope to get 500 runners to sign up for their race this year. They say they also hope they can raise enough money to help fund programs like music and physical education in Horseshoe Bend Schools.
"We're pretty strong-willed, marathon runners, stay at home moms, have large families so I do think we can take on this challenge," Meyer said.
To maximize the amount of money that goes to the school, the moms are trying to get each piece of the race sponsored. At this point, they have a lot of sponsors in place, but they're still looking for more sponsorships.
Those interested in signing up to run in The Race 2 the Summit can click here for the website where you can check out the route and register.