J.J. Garcia, a loan officer at MidWestOne Bank, is racing down the backstretch in his role as organizer of the West Liberty Run for the Schools.
The fifth annual fundraiser will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the West Liberty High School track. This is Garcia’s second year of overseeing the event.
“It’s in the fall this year,” Garcia, 29, said. “A lot of people wondered what happened to it.”
The fundraiser, which was previously held in the spring, was moved to the new date in September in order to coincide with the beginning of the school year, Garcia said.
Some 300 people are expected to participate in the five-kilometer run/walk and half-mile fun run for children. In addition to MidWestOne, sponsors for the event are Liberty Communications, West Liberty Foods and Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids.
Last year, Run for the Schools raised $4,325, Garcia said. He said organizers are hoping to do at least as well again this year. The entry fee is $20 for adults and $10 for children up through the 12th grade. The fee includes a T-shirt designed by Grace Jedlicka, a WLHS senior.
Money raised this will be used to help rehabilitate the high school track.
The race will include Coy Ruess, who won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this year. Ruess – the son of Adam Ruess and Monica Ruess, both of West Liberty – won last year’s race as a fifth-grader.
One person who won’t be entered in this year’s race is Garcia, who has competed in the past and annually enters the West Liberty Youth Sports Fun Run in July.
“I’m not a huge runner, to be honest with you,” he said.
But overseeing last-minute details on race day makes it too difficult to compete. “Last year was the first year I was told I couldn’t run,” he said.
Registration forms are available at the main office of any of the schools in West Liberty, MidWestOne Bank and West Liberty Foods.
5K run for the schoolsBy Chris Steinbach · Tuesday, September 18, 2012