There is still time to get involved with one of our neighborhood’s most cherished traditions.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, hundreds of runners will take off down Linebaugh Avenue, in a race that brings our community together for a great cause.
The Great West Chase launched in 2002 as a simple 5K in a still-developing neighborhood. Flash forward 20 years, the race now draws more than 1,000 runners in the event’s three races: a 5K, a 10K and the Kids Fun Run. Since 2002 the event has allowed WOW to make $325,500 in charitable donations with a majority of that going to schools serving a high number of underprivileged children. Town and Country Elementary, a nearby elementary school where 93 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, will be the recipient of this year’s race proceeds.
How to take part in the race
If you haven’t already registered, no worries. There is still time. Online registration is available at www.greatwestchase.com through Oct. 24. Packet pick-up for registered runners will take place Oct. 27 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Westchase Recreation Center located at 9791 Westchase Dr. in The Bridges.
Walk up registration will also be available during packet pick-up and starting on race morning at 5:30 a.m.
On the day of the race, the 10K starts at 7 a.m., the 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the Kids Fun Run starts at 9 a.m. Beginning in West Park Village at the base of Montague Street, the race proceeds west on Linebaugh Avenue before returning and finishing near its start. Once again, to ease traffic concerns, the 10K route will be the same as the 5K route, completed twice. The Kids Fun Run stays on the internal Montague Street loop in West Park Village.
Each runner will receive a fun T-shirt with race mascot “Chase” and a finisher medal. After running, participants can join a great post-race party featuring PDQ, Blind Tiger Café, World of Beer, Carrabba’s, Irish 31, Bahama Bucks and a beer truck from Pepin, staffed by generous volunteers from the Westchase Freebooters Krewe. Those who remain for the awards ceremony (recognizing the top three finishers, male and female, in five-year age groups) will participate in the race’s popular raffle. The Great West Chase also recognizes runners completing their first 5K or 10K. And remember, while Halloween costumes are not required, they are encouraged for added fun.
Other ways to help
Multiple volunteers are needed to help make the event a success, from preparing race bags to helping with early morning registration on race day. “This event takes the whole community from start to finish and any group or organization wanting to be a part of it is welcome,” said Event Chair, Leslie Blaze.
Volunteers are needed at packet stuffing on Oct. 26 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., packet pick-up on Oct. 27 from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2:45-7 p.m., and on race day from 4:30-11 a.m.
Those looking to volunteer can email firstname.lastname@example.org or look for a Sign-Up Genius posted on the Westchase Neighborhood News and Great West Chase Facebook pages. This is a great way for high schoolers to earn Bright Futures hours as well.
As part of the race, WOW is conducting a book drive for the students at Town and Country Elementary. “We hope all families in the Westchase and Northwest areas will take a few moments to go through their family bookshelves to identify gently used books they are willing to now give to kids with no books at all,” said Blaze.
Donations of new or gently used books can be dropped off at the Westchase Rec Center during its hours of operation (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.) WOW hopes all race participants will bring at least one elementary level book to packet pick-up at the Westchase Rec Center on Oct. 27.
Whether you are running, walking, cheering or volunteering, the Great West Chase is a fun neighborhood tradition you’ll want to be part of. See you at the race!