Race organizers like Bill Tiffany are always looking for ways to increase participation. In the case of the Mission 10 Race, Tiffany and the team of committee members decided to add the half-marathon (13.1 miles) distance to the event two to three years ago.
It’s turned out to be a productive decision.
“It’s a recent addition and it seems popular,” said Tiffany, the Mission 10’s longtime race organizer. “I would say in 2020 (the last time the race was held), the number of runners in the half-marathon were close to the same as the 10 miler. It’s the same so far this year in the sign-ups we’ve had. The half-marathon has definitely drawn in some new participants, which is great.”
The venerable road race event—now in its 38th edition—takes place on Jan. 29 in San Juan Bautista. Last year’s event was canceled due to Covid so there’s a lot of anticipation leading up to the race. Once again, the event features the half-marathon, 10 mile, 5K and 1-mile Kids’ Fun Run. The Mission 10 Race is unique for a couple of reasons.
One, few events nowadays offer a 10-mile race, for various factors. Two, all of the proceeds go directly back into the community to support student scholarships and local charitable programs. The event sponsor, the Rotary Club of Hollister, gifted $36,000 in college scholarships to local students in 2020, according to the club.
The Mission 10 Race’s most popular event is the 5K (3.1 miles), which is expected considering that is the preferred distance choice in the U.S. In 2019, there were approximately 9 million paid registrants for the 5K in the U.S., according to livestrong.com.
“We probably added the 5K around 15 years ago to increase participation and it’s worked out quite well,” Tiffany said.
Serious runners like the distance to test themselves for a relatively short time, and at 3.1 miles, and for novices, it’s not as intimidating as, say, a 10-miler or half-marathon.
“The majority of the runners in the half-marathon and 10 mile races are already signed up, but oftentimes we get quite a few people to show up on the morning of and register for the 5K, which is great,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany emphasized that anyone can show up the morning of the race for registration, which starts at 7:15am. at Mission Plaza on Second Street.
“If a family wakes up that day and decides they want to do the Kids’ Fun Run together, this is an opportunity to do that,” he said.
The half-marathon and Kids’ Run goes off at 8:45am, the 10-miler at 9am and the 5K at 9:15. The courses are relatively flat, making for fast times. The 10 mile and half-marathon races are TAC certified.
The Mission 10 Race attracts serious runners and walkers from all backgrounds, making for a competitive yet laid back event. Unlike bigger races, a competitor at the Mission 10 doesn’t have to deal with 20 minute wait times at a port a potty or worry about getting to the start line on time.
“It’s a real low-key event, which is why people keep coming back year after year,” Tiffany said. “It’s a really friendly atmosphere and it’s also a fun destination where everyone can hang out in San Juan Bautista afterward.”
NOTE: Advance race registration, rates and info are available at www.mission10.com. All races are timed with rewards, including prizes for the top theme teams in the 5K race. Race day registration begins at 7:15am.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at email@example.com and (831) 886-0471, ext. 3958.