In just its second year, the Bristol Half & Half Marathon is on track to become a major fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “We had 350 runners last year, and we’re hoping for 1,000 this year,” said Elise Allen, senior manager for the American Cancer Society in East Tennessee. “It was a good start, and this is going to be a premier running event. It’s amazing what Electro-Mechanical has done and the sponsors that are coming on board. After this, Bristol is going to be known as ‘A Good Place to Run.’”
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The Bristol Half & Half Marathon is unique in that it takes runners on a 13.1-mile tour of both Bristol, VA, and Bristol, TN. The certified course begins on the track of Virginia High School, has its midpoint near the Bristol Sign on State Street, and ends at Tennessee High School’s Stone Castle. Participants can race individually or as a two-person relay. This year’s race is scheduled for April 12.
The Bristol Half & Half Marathon was run for the first time last year. The event grew out of Electro-Mechanical Corporation’s community involvement and long-term affiliation with the American Cancer Society, and the company remains its signature sponsor.The race is being managed by We Run Events, a Kingsport-based sports event management company whose owners – both cancer survivors – were also instrumental in getting it started.
“We’re looking for additional sponsors, volunteers, and community support,” said Jody Dutcher, director of marketing for Electro-Mechanical. “We’re looking for support so that we can all make a difference together in the fight against cancer.”
With the increase in participation this year, Dutcher said more volunteers are being sought to help with set-up and tear-down, traffic, monitoring the course, manning food and water stations, and cheering the runners on.
“We appreciate Electro-Mechanical stepping up and taking the lead in this,” said Bristol, Tenn., City Councilman Chad Keen. “Electro-Mechanical is a shining example of a company that takes the lead.”
Bristol, Tenn., City Manager Bill Sorah said the race is a great way to show off the city while raising money to fight cancer and celebrating cancer survivors .“We’re very excited to partner with Electro-Mechanical in providing a location for the half-marathon,” Sorah said. “It’s an event that we feel like will grow in this community. It certainly showcases both sides of our city. The route is arranged in a fashion that gives the runners an opportunity to run in two states, to get a flavor for our downtown, mixed-use neighborhoods, some of our old historic areas, and the start and finish lines at the respective high schools. It’s a unique event, and we feel like the participants will enjoy their weekend in Bristol.”
Allen said the proceeds from the event will go to cancer education, needed services for cancer patients, and research – which brings long-term gains in patient survival. With so many people in the community touched by cancer, she said, all of these areas have an important local impact.
Andrew Trivette, assistant city manager for Bristol, Va., said the event itself also has an important local impact. “Any time that we have an event, we enjoy the benefit of having the hotels and restaurants full with the participants and their family and friends, and we also enjoy the benefit of getting to show off our city,” Trivette said. “This is our kind of event: This is an event that’s sponsored by a local company that really works hard to be a part of the community and is working hard to provide benefits beyond just employment. Anything the city can do to encourage that, we do.”
Electro-Mechanical President and CEO Russell Leonard expressed hope that the half-marathon – which involves two cities and two states for one great cause – will continue to grow in future years. “Electro-Mechanical Corporation and our co-workers are excited to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 ACS Bristol Half & Half Marathon,” Leonard said. “We view this as an extension of our comprehensive wellness program within EMC and another example of our ongoing commitment to our community. We hope that this event grows each year, and our participation as well.”
For more information, contact Jody Dutcher at (276) 645-8238 or Jody.email@example.com, or go the website: http://www.bristolhalfnhalf.com/.