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Runners, sponsors, volunteers needed for Mighty Niagara half marathon

LEWISTON – The Mighty Niagara Half Marathon, a race that has grown into one of Niagara Hospice’s most successful fundraisers, will attract runners from around the world to Niagara County on Sept. 24.

Race organizers are still trying to recruit sponsors and volunteers to put on the event.

“It takes an army of volunteers to pull off an event this size,” according to Niagara Hospice’s Mandy Raff, who serves as special events coordinator. “We are looking for service groups that may want to send a team, big or small, to help at our water stations and at Artpark and Porter on the Lake to assist with parking and traffic control.”

Held in conjunction with the Hospice Dash 5K, the half marathon has attracted runners from England, Ireland, Mexico, Germany, Austria, and Ethiopia in the past.

Race chairman Paul Beatty Jr. started the event as a 5K and added the half marathon five years ago. The scenic course begins at Artpark in Lewiston and continues along Lower River Road, travels past Old Fort Niagara and finishes along the shore of Lake Ontario at Porter on the Lake Town Park.

The race features bands throughout the entire course, as well as before and after the run. A post-race party will feature Strictly Hip, along with beverages, hot dogs and snacks for participants and the public, as well as race awards.

“More and more runners are making this a destination race. It’s great for our event, and it’s also great for local businesses and attractions,” said race coordinator Maureen Rizzo of Niagara Hospice.

Many local businesses have signed on to support Niagara Hospice through their participation in the Mighty Niagara Discount Card, which is given to all registrants. Sponsors on the card provide discounts to card holders. The card also is used throughout the year by schools and other local organizations that sell them as an additional fundraiser for Niagara Hospice.

Rizzo said that Niagara Hospice has also partnered this year with the Sheraton at the Falls Hotel to offer blocks of rooms for participants travelling to the race. The hotel is serving as the location for packet pick-up from noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 21-23. Free shuttle transportation also will be available from the hotel to the starting line at Artpark.

Runners compete for prize money, and trophies are awarded to the overall male and female finishers. Medal pins are also given for age group winners. Rizzo said prize money for runners has been expanded this year. Runners and 5K walkers can choose to start a team to compete for the Team Spirit Award while also raising additional funds for Niagara Hospice.

To volunteer or sponsor, contact Raff at 280-0766 or mraff@niagarahospice.com.

More information and registration for the race are available at www.MightyNiagaraHalfMarathon.com.

Niagara Hospice has provided end-of-life comfort, care and support since 1988 to more than 25,000 Niagara County residents and families faced with terminal illness. No one is ever denied hospice care because of inability to pay. For more information, visit: NiagaraHospice.org or call 716-HOSPICE.

email: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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