The C&O Canal Trust’s Canal Pride COVID-19 Recovery Fund received $2,249 from race participants around the world who donated when they registered for a Virtual Road Trip Run offered by Racine MultiSports, a race production and professional timing business located in Williamsport, MD.
The C&O Canal Trust, the official nonprofit fundraising partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, is currently focused on raising funds to support maintenance efforts in the Park after it saw a 49 percent increase in visitors during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Ken Racine, founder and owner of Racine MultiSports, approached the C&O Canal Trust about a partnership as he developed the Virtual Road Trip Run, which invited participants to name their “bucket list” running venue when they registered for a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon. At registration, they were also asked to make a donation to the Trust. Of the more than 650 people who registered, 161, including donors from 22 states and Australia, France, and India, made a gift. The funds will be used to support volunteer activities in the Park focused on cleaning up trash and repairing damage to the Park as a result of the surge of visitation over the past three months.
Dan Spedden, President of the Visit Hagerstown-Washington County Visitor and Convention Bureau and a member of the Trust’s Board of Directors, recommended the C&O Canal Trust as the beneficiary of the virtual event. He saw the partnership as a great way to promote both a local small business and benefit the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Spedden joined Robin Zanotti, president of the C&O Canal Trust, and Racine for the check presentation at Cushwa Basin on Thursday, June 11.
“Racine MultiSports is excited to provide events that not only support the running community but also support the local community,” Racine said. “When we developed the Virtual Road Trip Run, we wanted to find a local charity to support and were so thankful that Dan Spedden referred us to the C&O Canal Trust. This was a perfect match for our event since the canal is used by so many of the runners who race with us. Our mission is to support our community through donating a portion of proceeds from our events. We were so pleased to see the level of support our participants showed by collectively donating over $2,200 to the C&O Canal Trust’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund.”
The C&O Canal Trust was forced by the pandemic to cancel its big spring Canal Pride Days volunteer events, but it is working with the National Park Service (NPS) to organize a series of smaller Canal Pride projects where volunteers can provide much-needed TLC at areas impacted by the visitor surge while also observing physical distancing and other recommended health protocols. If you are interested in volunteering during our Canal Pride days, please click here.
“We are very grateful to Racine MultiSports for allowing the Trust to benefit from this inspiring event. I am sure that some of the participants will do their run along our towpath,” Zanotti said. “In March and April alone, the park’s visitation was 49 percent greater than over the same period last year. That has put a lot of wear and tear on the Park. The funds donated by Virtual Road Trip Run participants will go directly to helping the C&O Canal National Historical Park recover.”
Race participants, who have pledged to complete their actual run closer to home between June 19 and June 21, came from seven countries — Australia, Canada, France, India, New Zealand, Portugal, and the United States.