The Michael and Wendy Hays Race to Feed the Hungry marks its 13th year in Idaho Falls today, and registration numbers are on track to match those of previous years.
Gray Augustus of Bill’s Bike and Run and Personal Best Performance said the number of preregistered numbers had surpassed 800 as of Tuesday morning. In a Tuesday evening phone interview with the Post Register, Augustus said he anticipates more registrations leading up to race time.
“We’re expecting well over 1,000 (on race day),” Augustus said. “To get it into 1,100 or 1,200, it would be our largest year.”
Augustus, who participated in the annual race six times, said he is amazed at what the turnout for the race has become since its inaugural year of 2005 when Personal Best Performance founder, the late Michael Hays, hoped for 100 participants and ended up with almost 300. Even in snow and wind chill, the turnout has consistently been around 1,000 in recent years.
“It’s been really cool,” Augustus said. “You have a lot of out of towners, college kids that are back in town and we have a lot of kids registered this year.”
The race supports the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket, and two of Personal Best Performance’s partners for the race, Broulim’s and Potandon Produce, are donating food items to this year’s event. Broulim’s is donating pre-packaged bags while Potandon Produce is donating potatoes. Augustus said the items the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket is most in need of are canned fruit, canned chili, dry pasta, peanut butter, tuna, dry cereal and oatmeal.
Due to the turnout as well as the items donated by participants, more than 100 volunteers are necessary to put on the race. Augustus said finding help has not been an issue this year, as area LDS missionaries and past participants in the race have offered their time and efforts.
“It’s been pretty crazy how many people have reached out and said, ‘Hey, I can’t run this year. Can I volunteer?’” Augustus said. “That was kinda the biggest surprise this year. Usually we’re strapped and struggling with getting volunteers.”
The Michael and Wendy Hays Race to Feed the Hungry consists of a 10k and a 5k and begins at 9 a.m. this morning at Freeman Park. Race day registration is also available from 7 to 8 a.m. Augustus said the course is the same as last year’s race.
Coming up locally
The Upper Valley Turkey Trot takes place today in Rexburg. Race time is at 9 a.m. at Porter Park. The event is organized by the Sugar-Salem High School cross-country team and Vector Timing. Food donated will go to the Family Crisis Center, Inc., in Rexburg.
Sun Valley Resort’s opening day for the winter season is today and Jackson Hole Resort’s is Friday.
Team USA Updates
Caeleb Dressell and Katie Lededky claimed top honors Sunday at the annual Golden Goggle Awards in Los Angeles, receiving male and female athlete of the year by USA Swimming. Dressel won seven gold medals at the FINA World Championships this summer to tie a 10 year-old record set by Michael Phelps. This was Ledecky’s fifth consecutive year receiving female athlete of the year. Five of her six worlds medals were gold this summer.
Emma Coburn and Sam Kendricks were named USA Track and Field’s athletes of the year on Monday. Coburn led a U.S. 1-2 finish with Courtney Frerichs in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the IAAF outdoor world championships in August in London, becoming the first Americans to win gold and silver in the event at an Olympics or worlds. Kendricks had an undefeated season in pole vault, including the men’s gold medal at worlds.