Dress cold for EightCAP’s Barren Dash to keep others warm

By Ryan Jeltema • Last Updated 12:37 am on Saturday, January 21, 2012

Montcalm Community College President Bob Ferrentino, left, and John Kroneck participated in the 2011 Barren Dash.

SIDNEY — Dashing through the snow takes on a whole new meaning with the 2012 Barren Dash at Montcalm Community College Saturday, Jan. 28.
This year marks the second time the Barren Dash, a one-mile run that requires runners to wear bathing suits, will be held to encourage awareness and raise funds for those in the area who do not have proper shelter and clothing for the sometimes harsh Michigan winter. Allison DeMara of Montcalm County’s EightCAP developed the idea of the Barren Dash last year and has added other events this year.
“I have been very involved in both years of the Barren Dash,” DeMara said. “The area has the Walk for Warmth, which is great for most people but I like to do things a little differently. I wanted people not only to raise the money to help but learn a lesson and have fun doing it.”
DeMara’s goal, she said, was to give people a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes.
“Running in the cold in their bathing suits is as close as I could think to get to what it would be like to be without proper clothing, shelter or heat during the cold Michigan winter,” she said. “After that, as they say, the rest is history.”
Rachel Burns was a participant in the inaugural Barren Dash last year and is looking forward to being involved again this year.
“Although I am not all that athletic and I can’t say I am the best runner in the world, I was compelled to be part of this,” Burns said. “What a great way to put the word out about the need for heat, and have fun doing it. So I started putting the word out with my friends and neighbors. I only hoped to get a few dollars because I know that a few added with another few from a bunch of other folks becomes a lot.”
Burns said she raised $350.
“This year I will be running (and walking) again. I am looking forward to it, in a ‘brrrrr’ sort of way,” she laughed. “I have put the word out and am working on raising money right now.”
Last year’s Barren Dash had as many as 16 runners, but with the addition of more indoor and outdoor activities DeMara is hoping for families to participate this year.
“This year’s event is geared toward the whole family,” DeMara said. “We have incorporated kids activities, indoor and outdoor activities, creative activities and much more to try to give something for everyone to enjoy at the event.
“We are unsure of how many people will attend but we are hoping for a big turnout,” she added.
Most of the events are by donation, however the main events, including the one-mile and 5K runs, have a $35 minimum donation for participation. Other fees associated with events can be found on the brochure. Each run participant who bring the minimum of $35 entry fee receives a T-shirt.
The Barren Dash will also include dance music, a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, kids crafts and music and many other events.
“The funds raised will be given to EightCAP to be distributed to their four-county service area,” DeMara said. “It will be used through their community service centers to help low-income families with utilities, shelter and clothing this winter.”
The Barren Dash activities begin at noon. Further information can be requested through Allison DeMara by contacting her at (616) 754-9315 or by email at allisond@8cap.org.

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