An upcoming Glow Run 5K has sparked a conversation about the role of fundraising in sports at Marysville High School.
Marysville Track Backers, the track and field booster club, will host the race Saturday, June 14. Participants will be given glow-in-the-dark items to use during the evening event.
Head boys track and field coach JB Ritchie loves the idea of a fundraiser that involves the community, but doesn't think it will solve all of the sports' financial difficulties.
"I think it's absolutely fantastic. It won't be enough, though," Ritchie said. "Marysville administration has made it clear to all varsity sports that they would like (them) to be self-sustained within the next few years."
Superintendent Diane Mankins said the administration has asked athletics to seek ways to increase revenue so self-support might someday be possible, but there is no mandate.
"We have not required athletics to be self-sustaining," Mankins said. "Currently, we are brainstorming, researching and developing ideas to increase revenues and/or offset current expenditures. We don't want to see participation costs increase for our families."
The district now charges a $200 pay-to-play fee for every middle and high school sport. There is no family cap.
Head girls track coach Luke Sundermeier said fundraising has become just as important as practice or learning a new event.
"It's part of the game now," he said.
Mankins said the goal is to creatively cut costs and boost revenue. As an example, she cited the district's partnership with Memorial Hospital of Union County.
"They currently provide our athletic training services free-of-charge for rights to advertising in our facilities," she said.
Robynn Jasper, the track booster representative to the Monarch Athletic Association, is organizing the Glow Run.
"The reality is, these programs require funding and the parents' fee to participate. Whether it's a school event or rec league or music, it requires extra fundraising," she said.
She does not want the financial component to become a barrier for students hoping to participate.
"Especially for track. Part of this is to raise awareness for track and field as a sport -- beyond football or basketball, or softball and baseball -- for more people to attend track events," Jasper said.
"It's a sport a lot of different types of kids can participate in. You can be a sprinter, mid- or long-distance runner, jumper, hurdler, pole vaulter. There are a lot of events that cover a lot of types of kids being physically active."
The track team had its largest number of participants in recent memory this spring.
"This year we did have 120 kids on the team, which is fantastic. The year before we had 83," Ritchie said.
Jasper pointed out that while it is great to have more students involved, it also means buying more uniforms and adds wear and tear to current uniforms and equipment.
The Marysville Glow Run 5K will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at Mill Creek Park. Parking is available at the high school stadium.
Jasper hopes the event will raise $2,500 for the track and field program. A donation also will be made to Marysville Special Olympics track and field athletes.
"Our (race) costs are covered through our sponsorships," she said.
Runners can register online at speedysneakers.com or at the park the day of the race. The fee is $30 per person.
"I encourage people to register ahead of time, that way they'll have a T-shirt and the size they want. It just makes the day of the race go smoother when we know who the runners are," Jasper said.
As of midweek, 70 participants had signed up, said Jasper, who hopes to reach 100.
"I think 100 for an initial 5K is wonderful. It's a great step for the direction of our program," Ritchie said.