Run work: Elkette volunteers reach out to bring runners back to JamestownFor every Runnin O’ the Green, volunteers with the Elkettes spend countless hours sending letters to past participants and registering new ones.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
For every Runnin O’ the Green, volunteers with the Elkettes spend countless hours sending letters to past participants and registering new ones.
“For a lot of us as a group, it’s not work. It becomes a fun weekend for everyone,” said Angie Neumiller, president of the Elkettes. “It’s easy, it’s fun. It’s a social event.”
The Elkettes began working on behalf of the 35th annual Runnin O’ the Green earlier this year, when they gathered to stuff hundreds of letters about the event to people who have made the run in previous years.
They’ll be continuing their work with Larry Knoblich, founder of the annual charity run, by getting people registered prior to and during the event itself.
The run began in 1979 with 23 runners, one Irish priest and a dog, but since then participation has ballooned to 2,260 people in 2012 — and that number doesn’t include anyone who didn’t register for the event.
Getting people registered takes more work when there are 2,000-plus than it did when there were less than two dozen.
“(Registration) used to be through the mail or on Saturday morning,” Neumiller said.
Now people can register in advance at the Elks Club, Wild Side Creations or Cork & Barrel several days before the run, avoiding the registration rush on Runnin day.
It’s the Elkettes who do the preregistration. Runners hand in their registration form, and Elkettes check their IDs and hand them lists of the stops along the route. Elkettes also let them know where to go for the start of the race and give runners other useful information.
“We advise them as to a few rules that our local law officials are looking for now — just try to use the Port-a-Potties, and don’t be running outside the areas with liquor,” said Joyce Heinrich, one of the Elkette volunteers.
Preregistration will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Cork & Barrel, 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Elks Club and at Cork & Barrel, and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the day of the run, at Cork & Barrel.
People can also preregister during business hours at Wild Side and Cork & Barrel, Neumiller said.
The Elkettes also help people register at the Frontier Fort on the day of the run, sometimes joined by their husbands or other volunteers.
Some of the Elkettes wander among the runners asking unregistered people to get registered.
“We have some people that look at us like ‘Why are we paying $10?’” Heinrich said.
That’s when the Elkettes tell the runners where their registration fees go — to local cancer patients and Elks Camp Grassick, a summer camp for people with disabilities or special needs.
People are generally friendly to the volunteers, too.
“We just love having all these groups of people coming back to town,” Heinrich said. “It’s like homecoming.”
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be
reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at