Race of the year

Local Rotary sponsors community for more than three decades

RACE DAY Rotary Club of Hollister is anticipating more than 800 runners at its Mission 10 Race in San Juan Bautista on Saturday, Jan. 26. Photo: Robert Eliason

The Rotary Club of Hollister knows how to ring in the New Year, and they do it with a running start.

Hosting its 36th annual Mission 10 Race in San Juan Bautista on Saturday, Jan. 26, the Rotary Club of Hollister is anticipating more than 800 registered participants.

“I’m very excited about it,” says this year’s club president, Hollister Police Chief David Westrick. “We’ve been working on it pretty much all year long.”

According to Westrick, the event has been a team effort for the entire Hollister club, with members involved in all areas, from fundraising and getting city permits to setting up and taking down the event.

“There’s about 75 of us who have worked on it,” Westrick says.

Helping the club members on race day are two local Boy Scout troops the Hollister club sponsors. Westrick says the extra help is definitely appreciated—and needed.

“It’s a big deal,” adds Westrick. “This is a really cool race and it’s very unique. There’s something for everyone.”

The Mission 10 Race consists of four separate races, all of which begin and finish in front of the historic San Juan Mission.

The Kid’s 1-Mile Fun Run begins at 8:15am, followed by the Half Marathon at 8:45am, the 10-Mile at 9:00 am, and the 5K at 9:15am.

The course goes through, and up, the Anzar Hills. It’s a scenic route many returning runners look forward to revisiting.

Cheramy Thul, who has previously done the 10-Mile run, has been training for this year’s Half Marathon on the anticipated course.

“I love the scenery; it’s beautiful,” Thul says, though she’s quick to add, “There are some rolling hills that are definitely challenging!”

Leslie Raghavan will also be completing the Half Marathon for the first time, and has also been training on the course. She also finds the scenery just as aesthetically pleasing, and the course just as challenging.

“The hill is one of the most challenging part of the race,” Raghavan says. “I am not going for any records. I just want to complete my first Half Marathon; it is one of my goals for the new year of 2019.”

Though the running course may be challenging, Half Marathon and 10-Mile participants will be happy to know that they are also all-certified. According to the Rotary Club of Hollister, the two courses are distance certified by the Athletics Congress.

“This qualifies for the big stuff,” Westrick explains. “It was important for us to pay for that qualification every year because we thought, for the first race of the year, it was important for folks to have one that actually counts.”

But not every runner is participating for qualification.

Wayne Wallace, new to the San Benito community, has participated with his mom in San Jose races every year. “This will be our first time running the Mission run,” Wallace says. “We’re running the 5k and just expecting to have fun. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and meeting people and having a good time.”

Nicole Lorusso, who is also new to the community, has found it more challenging to find local races than when she lived in San Jose.

“I haven’t ran since October, but I am hoping to use the Mission 10 5K as a gauge to see what level I’m currently at,” Lorusso says. “It’s my first race of 2019; I’m hoping to use it to jump start my activity again.”

Participants in all races will have opportunities to receive medals, awarded in standard age categories, as well as for overall female and male. Theme teams are encouraged but asked to be family friendly. Trophies will be awarded to top teams.

“At the end of the day, the proceeds to go scholarships,” Westrick says. “Last year we gave $23,000 to scholarships to different kids who are based in our community.”

Westrick says the scholarships are for any student who resides locally, even if they attend an out-of-area school. “We really focus on education, so scholarships are our biggie. It’s the kind of stuff that we like to do that improves our area for our citizens, and it helps us.”

The 2019 Mission 10 Race is on Saturday, January, 26, at 406 Second Street Mission Plaza in San Juan Bautista. Race Day Registration begins at 7:15am. For more information, or to register online, visit mission10.com.

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