GREENVILLE — The second annual Mercy Run will take place Saturday at Klackle’s Orchard and Pavilion.
Last year’s Mercy Run was a tour around Greenville’s new Fred Meijer Flat River Trail and was an 8-mile run. This year the committee moved the run to accommodate weekend runners with with more popular distances of a 5K and 10K.
“The trail was a spectacular and scenic run, but we couldn’t find an easy way to do the normal 5K without having to shuttle people, so it ended up being one complete loop around the city,” said committee member and runner Sam Jurden.
Because the run is a fundraiser, the hope of all involved is the Mercy Run will grow into hundreds of runners in future years — something that is not possible on the trail.
Klackle’s has partnered in the quest to raise funds for Have Mercy, a local nonprofit that provides emergency food and shelter to homeless families. The orchard will donate 50 percent of ticket sales from family harvest activities, provided the tickets are purchased through the Mercy Run stand at the Pavilion.
“I can’t tell you how thankful we are to Klackle Orchards for their willingness to support us,” said Have Mercy Executive Director Kim Cain. “We’re a new organization and are still getting established. This event is really important to Have Mercy because it provides the funds we need going into the winter months. That’s a very challenging time of the year for homeless families and we have to be prepared to meet the needs when they come.”
Other changes include the starting time at 5 p.m. with runners able to register from 3 to 5 p.m. at the orchard, and a spaghetti dinner with an auction has been added this year.
Both are open to the public and are designed to entertain non-runners. Dinner is from 5 to 7 p.m. and costs $6 a plate for adults or $3 per child younger than age 10. Dinner is free for runners.
“We thought this would be a great way to get them some carbs after the run,” said veteran fundraiser Robin Winters.
The auction is being run like a silent auction with a raffle-type twist.
“There are some things just for runners like the watches by Soleus, and there are things that would appeal to anyone like the photography packages or an original picture by Frances Schuleit,” said Cain. “Some of the larger items are a mountain bike with a retail value of $350 and an 8-foot kayak.”
For more information, visit www.mercyrun.org.