It’s almost time to chase snakes

Sue Guinn Legg • Mar 10, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Chasing Snakes, St. John’s Episcopal Church’s St. Patrick’s Day 10K road race and 4K fun run/fitness walk to help homeless families with children served by the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Johnson City, will make its fourth annual run through downtown Saturday morning.

Early registration is already running ahead of last year when more than 680 runners took to the streets. With the benefit falling on St. Patrick’s Day for the first time this year, Race Director Amy Combs said this year’s road race is expected to be the greatest ever.

The 10K road course is USATF certified and the finish line will be managed by the State of Franklin Track Club. Awards for top finishers in each age bracket have been handcrafted by local potter Philip Shivell, along with the Chasing Snakes Leapin’ Leprechaun Award for the Chasing Snakes participant who exhibits the most St. Patrick’s Day spirit. All 4K event finishers will receive an event souvenir.

Because of the large field expected, pre-registration for the 10K is required and must be completed by 8 p.m. Friday. Race day registration for the 4K, which draws a smaller field of snake chasers, will be available on Saturday morning.

Online registration for both events will close at midnight Wednesday. Pre-registration and race packet pickup will be available Thursday from 5-8 p.m. and from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday at the church at 500 N. Roan St.

The entry fee for both the 10K and 4K is $25 and all proceeds will go to the IHN network of 38 Johnson City area churches and more than 1,000 volunteers who help provide emergency and transitional housing and comprehensive support services for local families with children who are working their way back to self sufficiency. Last year, Chasing Snakes raised approximately $11,000 for the network and with good weather and some Irish luck, organizers expect to exceed that total this year.

The church will host a pre-race celebration from 5-8 p.m. Friday to wrap up pre-registration. The event will feature music by the ETSU Celtic Band and a St. Patrick’s Day dinner of Irish potato soup, roast beef or corned beef hoagies and drinks available for a $6 donation to St. John’s youth program.

Held in honor of St. Patrick’s legendary banishment of all snakes from the island nation of Ireland, the 10K will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the 4K at 8:35. The church also will be collecting donations of gently worn shoes for the international Soles4Souls shoe ministry on Saturday. St. John’s is encouraging participants to bring their extra shoes to pass along to someone who has none.

Chasing Snakes start and finish line sponsors are Southeastern Retina Associates and Anesthesia and Pain Consultants. Course sponsor is Summers-Taylor. Major contributors also include State Farm Dishner Agency, Foot Rx, St. Jude Medical, CrestPoint Health, Rumors Salon, John A.Bullington Co., Dr. Wayne Tongco and Raymond James Financial Services.

More details and registration forms are available at www.chasingsnakes10k.com or may be obtained by calling Race Director Amy Combs at 534-4011 or emailing chasingsnakes@gmail.com.

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