by Colin Stoecker
9 am, the morning before bingeing on grilled hotdogs, burgers, and Uncle Sam approved beverages, the Murdick’s Run the Chop Challenge is the perfect way to start any 4th of July festivities with an air of accomplishment and giving back to the community.
The race is a 5 mile loop around West Chop, beginning at the Tisbury School on Spring Street, about 5 blocks up from the boat dock. Meant for the whole family, it kicks-off with a “Fun Run” for children beginning at 8:30 am. Mike McCort, the general manager of Murdick’s Fudge and the primary coordinator of this event says the Fun Run is a chance for kids ages 5-12 to participate and a personal favorite as well. “The kids only run about a block (around the school) and we always like to have more of them,” Mike adds.
A Fourth of July theme will complement the race’s celebratory spirit, with a life size Uncle Sam cheering on the runners. Just make sure you are hydrating properly, as it is the 4th of July and the high for the day will be 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
The $20 registration before July 4th or $25 the day of the race, and the $5 for the Fun Run are going to benefits and proceeds, which usually gross about $10,000 each year. All of the money raised goes back into the community and is split evenly between The Boys and Girls Club of MV and the Rotary Club of MV.
The Boys and Girls Club’s proceeds go into working with the youth of the community. “They support little league, kids programs and the schools,” says Mike.
Likewise, The Rotary Club of MV generates about $50,000 annually for the island community, money which is then put into scholarships and leadership retreats for local high school students.
About half of the turnout for this 5 mile race and community organized event each year are islanders, age 12 to 94, many who are returning runners participating in order to show their dedication to helping their community while promoting healthy living.
Mike’s claim to fame is, “I run the race, I just don’t run in it,” although he doesn’t want to take all of the credit. “I wouldn’t have been able to organize the whole event without the help of volunteers, especially Cathy O’Sullivan who has been in charge of the registrations, and the track and field coach from the local high school. Also the race would not have been possible without Pete Lambrose who works with the Boys and Girls Club,” claims Mike. According to him, 100 percent of proceeds from runners go to charity—Murdick’s covers the rest.
Questioning your ability to crush the competition? The oldest runner last year was 94, and there is a runner this year who registered at age 86.
But, don’t let those ages fool you, this race is competitive. Mike mentioned that “the event has been registered with the U.S. track and field association as a 5 mile race, just in case someone breaks a world record!” There will also be awards handed out to overall winners and age group winners alike, the motto of the race being, “Set Goals…Make Commitments…Persevere.”
There are three sponsors for the event, MVY Radio, Martha’s Vineyard Online and the Vineyard Gazette.
So, Give back to your community and demonstrate your love for America at the same time by giving the “Run the Chop Challenge” a go this year, after all what do you have to lose?
Register now at Murdicks.com!