More and more charities are looking to host a benefit walk or run to support their cause. Races2Run handles the logistics from start to finish – both literally and figuratively.
The Wilimington, Del., based company organizes running and walking events that benefit a wide range of causes, large and small. From marking courses to arranging for roads to be closed, from promoting events within the running community to providing online sign-ups for athletes, the company handles nearly every aspect of an event.
But Wayne Kursh, president and CEO of Races2Run, sees his company as doing more than just providing logistics: It helps nonprofit and community groups gather crucial funds for their causes.
“It is pretty neat when we can make things work, and everybody is happy, and we raise funds through sporting events,” Mr. Kursh says.
Kursh started out by opening an athletic shoe store, which quickly expanded to three shops. But he soon shifted gears to directing and managing foot-racing events, and hasn’t looked back since.
After being managing races for 32 years, he estimates that he has put on more than 3,000 events that have raised millions of dollars for a wide variety of causes. While the events are largely in Delaware and Pennsylvania, others have been hosted in New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington, DC.
“I am so blessed to be able to put on these events, and make a lot of people happy,” he says.
Races2Run is a for-profit company, but Kursh says that it is the organizations he works with that should make the money from the events. “I charge fees to do this stuff, but the beneficiaries make the money,” he says. “I just manage the events and make it all work.”
He keeps his fees low to help organizations use events to raise the most money possible – and raise awareness for their cause, too.
Kursh and his wife, Barb, are the only Races2Run employees. They partner with two sister companies: One provides timing systems and electronic chips for runners to record their precise finish times. Another hosts online registration for races.
In his more than 30 years of organizing events, Kursh says, a few stand out. The Dewey Goes Pink event, for example, drew some 1,700 runners and raised more than $30,000 through an event in Dewey Beach, Del., to support the fight against breast cancer.
And of course, there is Kursh’s pet project – the Delaware Marathon, which takes place in Wilmington, Del.
“We bring in people from all over the world,” he sayst. “That’s pretty cool when you can bring all these people into the city.” Some 42 states have been represented at the marathon, which he estimates brings more than $2 million in revenue each year to his home state and city.
Business has been good for Races2Run, which will conduct 33 events in October alone. And unlike some people, Kursh has no problem with working on weekends to make sure events go off without a hitch.
“We want to be busy,” he says. “I like working every weekend.”
Beyond the financial help they provide to causes, community running and walking events foster a closeness among the athletes, Kursh says. “It is cool to see how these things bring people together,” he says. “We raise a lot of money for charities, and we really change peoples’ lives.”
He hopes Races2Run will keep on running for some time to come. “I hope I can continue on for a lot more years,” he says.
But just like the runners and walkers who participate in Races2Run events, Kursh's primary focus is on his next finish line.
“That’s how we take it,” he says, “one race at a time.”
• For more information about Races2Run and to learn about coming events, visit www.races2run.com.