Most people like holidays.
Most runners like them because aside from whatever you might be celebrating, you also likely get a day off work. And a day off work means one thing: More time to run.
Thirteen years ago, Sioux Falls Area Running Club members Rob Sevold and Jeff Schmitt decided to take the traditional Thanksgiving Day run and move it to The Banquet, invite anyone who wanted to come, and give any donations to the nonprofit feeding ministry.
Since then, thousands of runners have made the Run for Food an annual tradition – and runners have raised more than $65,000 in the process.
“If you’ve been to The Banquet, you see exactly where your donation went -- just to put food on the table for hungry folks,” said Tamera Jerke-Liesinger, executive director. “When you think that the average cost of a single meal is $2.50, that $65,000 has fed a lot of hungry people.”
The run is the same every year – loops of 1, 3 and 6 miles, no clock, no registration, no T-shirt and no medal. Every penny raised goes directly to The Banquet. While turnout has always been good, some years are better than other because of weather. This year, The Banquet signed on sponsors to help out.
“We kind of took a different mindset this year,” Jerke-Leisinger said. “It’s a great fundraiser for the us. … And we thought, ‘let’s amp it up a bit more, and get more money for The Banquet.’”
Runners won’t see much different, except a banner with the Run for Food logo and the logos of the sponsors, including 605 Running Co.
“When you do the sponsorships you get the word out even more, and they help promote the event, too,” Jerke-Leisinger said.
Founding member Schmitt agrees. “That’s just fantastic with us,” he said. “We just want to continue to raise money and help people understand there is a great need in Sioux Falls.”
Worried you have too much to do on Thanksgiving to try to cram in a run? That’s OK, you can also just go to the Banquet website and hit the donate button.
Or, skip making your pies and let The Banquet do that for you, too. You can buy pumpkin and apple pies for $10 the morning of the race. Pre-orders are encouraged, but Jerke-Leisinger anticipates there will be some available that morning.
“Get up on Thanksgiving morning, get your run in, and then go have the great holiday,” Jerke-Leisinger said. “All the money for this goes to support The Banquet. In 2015, we served 192,000 meals. The money that is raised makes a huge impact in people’s lives in our community. Without this kind of support, The Banquet wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
See you out there.
Jacqueline Palfy is a longtime runner, reader and writer, marathoner, mom and board member of the nonprofit Sioux Falls Area Running Club. Her contributions to the 605 Running Co. blog will appear each Tuesday. You can reach her at email@example.com. Story ideas are encouraged.
Details on the Run for Food
WHAT: Run for Food
WHEN: 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 24
WHERE: The Banquet, 900 E. 8th St., Sioux Falls
COST: Suggested donation of $10/per runner
BUY: Pumpkin and apple pies, $10 each. Preorder at 335-7066, or buy day of the run.