A Lawrence running event has fallen victim to the nation’s economic downturn.
The Lawrence Half-Marathon and 5K run benefit held annually in April has been canceled, according to Steve Riley, who along with his wife, Marcia, have organized the event, previously the Raintree Run, for several years. A lack of sponsors and concern that there would be fewer runners led to the cancellation, he said.
“The sponsor money was going to be down. It just wasn’t coming in,” Riley said.
Last year about 2,000 runners participated in the event, which raised $58,000 for the beneficiary, Health Care Access Clinic. TherapyWorks was the title sponsor and there were several co-sponsors. A title sponsor for 2009 had not been named.
“We’d already asked sponsors and some said they couldn’t do it,” Riley said. “Some of them we haven’t heard from. We’ve gotten some sponsor money but we’re sending it back to them.”
The 2009 event was to have 19 beneficiaries. In return, those organizations and groups were to provide the 450 to 500 volunteers the Rileys needed to help them put on the runs. Getting those volunteers also could be difficult, Riley said.
In past years, the city of Lawrence provided police, fire and medical assistance. But the city is tightening its belt and Riley said he was afraid that this time he’d have to come up with several thousand dollars to pay for that assistance. There also is the cost of paying for medals and cash prizes for some winning entries, he said.
“We didn’t want to cheapen the race and still have it, and you can’t cut corners with police, fire and medical,” Riley said. “We got to thinking that it’s just better that we do not do it for a year and see what happens next year.”
The event was renamed the Lawrence Half-Marathon and 5K in 2007. The Raintree Run began in the mid-1990s.