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VOL. 127 | NO. 78 | Friday, April 20, 2012

Youth Villages 5K Preps for 30th Birthday Bash

By Sarah Baker

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Despite the ups and downs of the residential real estate market over the last three decades, one of the constants for the Memphis Area Association of Realtors is the support of the annual Youth Villages Inc. 5K.

Participants race at last year’s Youth Villages 5K. This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the race.

(Photo Courtesy ofYouth Villages)

Saturday, April 21, marks the 30th anniversary of the race, and MAAR has been a title sponsor throughout those 30 years. The fundraiser’s origins trace back to 1982, when Amy Linthicum steered the first race out of the trunk of her car.

The nonprofit formerly known as Memphis Boys Town was in financial trouble and MAAR wanted to do its part to keep it afloat.

“It was very humble beginnings,” said Linthicum, vice president and sales and marketing development officer at Magna Bank. “Back then, the (Memphis Runners) Track Club had these big clocks and you put it up on top of your car. At the finish line, you just put a piece of tape across the street, and the clock was ticking as people ran across the piece of tape on the street. After the race was over, I went home and counted all of the money, I took the race results, called the Commercial Appeal – I basically just hauled everything around in the trunk of my car. Everybody teases me about it.”

Linthicum directed the race for 12 years before passing the torch onto other MAAR members. She came back to serve as co-chair for the 25th race anniversary, and came back this year for the 30th, along with Meribeth LaBearreare, vice president and senior loan officer with Magna Bank.

The Youth Villages 5K is expecting 2,500 participants this year, and has set a goal of $90,000. All of the funds raised will go toward the Youth Spiritual Center and the Chris Crye Mentoring Program.

The planning of the race is a yearlong commitment, Linthicum said, starting with race wrap-up and surveys, and continuing with coming up with new ideas into the fall.

MAAR has posted daily trivia questions on its Facebook wall to pique interest. New race giveaways this year include a “YV5K3.1” sticker for cars – similar to ones that read “13.1” for half-marathons – as well as door prizes for people who wear shirts from past race years.

“We’ve had the same dude that’s served beer for 30 years,” said MAAR president Carol Lott of Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. “We’ve got a lot of history in this race.”

Lott said the race is significant not only because it’s the longest-running organized 5K in the city of Memphis, but also because of all there is to do.

There will be a petting zoo and a 1-mile family fun walk for children, live music from the band 240 Loop, giveaways from Chick-fil-A and Turner Dairy, and cheerleaders from an array of local schools and sports teams encouraging the participants.

The fact that the race has the same start and finish point also differentiates it from other 5Ks that Lott frequents.

“Even if you’re not a runner, you can’t not have fun coming to this race,” Lott said. “Some of the races you go to, there’s nothing for anybody to do except for the racers – they only feed the racers and only let the racers drink. At this race, everybody has something to do. It’s friendly to everybody and that’s what makes it so cool.”

Runners must be registered by 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and the race begins at 9 a.m. at Ridgeway Center, 5865 Ridgeway Center Parkway. For more information, visit youthvillages5K.org.

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