In addition to raising funds for various charities, the Myrtle Beach Race Series has an ulterior motive: to inspire Grand Strand residents to live active and healthy lifestyles.
The series was conceived and organized by Jason Greene, a local property manager and avid runner who intends to raise money for area charities with his unconventional events, slated to start on Thanksgiving Day this year and wind up in mid-May of 2012.
Greene, a former Marine from California who holds a degree in Kinesiology, was asked by a friend several years ago to organize a 5K for Myrtle Beach's Military Appreciation Days. "I was more than willing to offer the time to be able to do that," he says. For three years it's been his pet project. "I kinda got this bug," he says. "I found that I had an affinity for it and enjoyed doing it." Organizing that event provided the springboard for him to coordinate Myrtle Beach's first-ever Mud Run, which was held on May 14, 2011. His momentum didn't stop there. Greene was also responsible for the recent Stair Climb held on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The hope was to get enough participants so that each entrant could wear the name of a person whose life was taken in the attacks.
Greene decided to take his new found talent and put it to serious use, designing a series of unique races he thought seasoned runners and families alike would enjoy. Out of this was born the Myrtle Beach Race Series. Each race in the series is intended to raise money and awareness for a specific charity. The Turkey Trot, which takes place on Thanksgiving Day, benefits the Arthritis Foundation. "My father was afflicted by this horrible disease his whole life," says Greene. Among the other charities involved will be Fostering Hope, a foundation benefiting children in foster care, and the Grand Strand Humane Society.
Currently, there are four events approved for the series: the Turkey Trot, Press for Time 5K, Leap Ahead For Women, and the Myrtle Beach Mud Run, which is the series championship. Two more events are pending, but the Mud Run remains the championship. Based on a NASCAR-like system, participation in any of the races gives entrants points towards the win, but an entrant must participate in the Mud Run to get the overall win. Points awarded are higher than Italian lire, giving the event room to grow in coming years with respect to the number of participants.
Greene is too busy on race-day to run, but he does test each course himself for safety and manageability. "It kind of gives me a barometer of how difficult it will be, when to stagger the times, that sort of thing. I'm a stickler for races starting on time," he laughs. "We want it to be family-friendly and fun...it should be challenging but not impossible." His wife Kelli, also a runner, helps design the events. They try to add little touches that competitive runners would enjoy, like the photographic backdrop they provided at this year's Mud Run that helped people make a memento of their experience.
Greene has been a resident in Myrtle Beach for around eight years. He moved here after retiring from a 12-year military career to be with his wife. He notes, "moving around with the military all these years, I never really felt like this before. I now feel an obligation to support the community. I feel like I have some civic duty to perform, and I think Myrtle Beach is a great place to do it because we have a lot of community assets at our disposal to be able to put on events like these."
Entry fees per race are roughly between $25-$45, with the Mud Run being the most elaborate, and therefore the most expensive. Visit myrtlebeachraceseries.com or Facebook.com/MyrtleBeachRaceSeries for more information and to get involved.
Hope is a long-time runner living in Myrtle Beach. She's a wife and mother of two, and has been a computer programmer for over 15 years. She is finishing a Bachelors in Exercise & Sport Science, with a minor in Health Promotion at Coastal, and is also an ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist. She shares her life and love of running, race reports, along with other random thoughts through her blog at TeamEpton.com. She'll be sharing her experiences as she participates in the Myrtle Beach Race Series.
With TheDigitel Myrtle Beach's unique usage of technology and social media, along with Hope's writing about her experiences, we hope to cover the Myrtle Beach Race Series in new and interesting ways.