September 9, 2009
Mount Pleasant to host half marathon this spring
No doubt, Dean Reinke loves to run. But he loves getting other people to run even more.
The founder of Reinke Sports Group will do his part to get local residents to lace up their running shoes with the Mount Pleasant Half-Marathon next spring.
The 13.1-mile race, which will start and end at Case High School, is expected to draw 1,000 runners in its first year with the goal of drawing as many as 5,000 runners in five years. Scheduled for April 10, the half marathon is part of a national circuit of races run by Reinke Sports Group.
"The half marathon is really the new marathon," Reinke said. "It's exploding in popularity, especially among women. It's a phenomenal accomplishment to go 13 miles."
(Right: Brennan Kane, deputy director of planning and development, shows the route for the Mount Pleasant Half Marathon.)
Reinke was in Mount Pleasant Wednesday to introduce the race, which he described as a major event that will help the village establish its identity as a community.
"I'm cautiously optimistic ... that in five years this will be one of the largest half marathons in the Midwest," he said.
Reinke plans to market the race in a 300-mile radius that includes eight states. Along with the half marathon, the event will include a 5K run and a 1-mile fun run, plus live music and entertainment following the races. 150 medals will be given out for finishers in different age groups and categories, Reinke said. Money won't be offered to race winners, in part because the half marathon is focused on participation, not elite competition, he said.
"Our goal isn't to create a world-class event," Reinke said. "It's to create a mass participation event."
The race is sponsored locally by Razor Sharp Fitness, which will offer training classes for people who want to compete in the race. Reinke said 6 months is enough time for people to train for the half marathon or the 5K, depending on fitness level.
Brennan Kane, deputy director of planning and development for Mount Pleasant, mapped out the 13.1-mile race. The race starts at Case and makes a rough loop west on Stuart Road, north to Highway K, down to Emmertsen Road and back to Case for a victory lap around the track. The route includes a stretch on the village's Pike River Pathway.
The half marathon is the latest big-time athletic event hosted by the Racine area. Dave Blank (left), president and CEO of the Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Racine's triathlon, pro beach volleyball stop and three on three soccer tournament have established the area as a capable host for events.
"Our reputation is we put on a high-class event," Blank said.
He added that organizers expect the race to support Racine's major summer race - the Lighthouse Run. The races are two months apart and runners will have plenty of time to recover if they want to do both.
"This should in no way hinder the Lighthouse Run," Blank said. "It will add to the greater running community."
Running communities is something Reinke knows about. An elite runner at Indiana University (he ran a 4:02 mile and a 2-hour, 24-minute marathon), Reinke got started organizing community races on weekends as a grad student.
Over time he developed his love for running - and getting others to run - into a company that announced a nationwide half-marathon circuit last month. (Along with organizing races, Reinke still runs every day - sometimes at 3 in the morning, if that's the only time he has available."
"I've been fortunate to pursue my passion and make it a part of my life," he said.
Here's background info on Reinke's half-marathon circuit. A website for the race will be launched this week.