The Mooresville Recreation Department will host its 12th annual Pumpkin Run 8K and Fun Run 2K on Oct. 29.
The Fun Run invites participants to wear costumes and began offering an award for best costume last year. One family even brought their dog dressed as a bumblebee to run with them.
Entrants in the 8K are invited to wear costumes. In 2010, a man dressed as Elvis ran the 8K race in a wig, sunglasses, and white-and-gold Elvis suit.
The event is designed to encourage fun, family-friendly exercise.
"We want to get people out and make exercise a family event," said David Adams, organizer of the event and assistant athletic manager for the Mooresville Recreation Department. The option to run in costumes "brings the kids out."
The Fun Run 2K often draws families that run together, and usually includes parents running with young children in strollers. The youngest participant in last year's Fun Run was 7 years old.
The 8K attracts a variety of runners. Last year, the ages of entrants ranged from 10 to 64. The two races together attracted 170 participants.
The Pumpkin Run and Fun Run take place on certified courses: They have officially been measured for accuracy in length. The 8K course is just over 5 miles; the 2K course is 1.25 miles. The courses both start in front of the War Memorial building on North Maple Street and loop around to finish in the same place.
Adams said, "People who are regular runners often say the course is pretty challenging," and that the theme of the event is to bring a family atmosphere to this challenging run.
Awards and gift certificates will be given to the top three overall male and female runners in the Pumpkin Run. Trophies will be given to the top runners in the Fun Run. There are also awards for the top three runners in each of the 11 age categories, so there are many opportunities to win.
In the past, gift certificates and prizes have been donated by Dick's Sporting Goods, Mizuno, GameStop, restaurants and hotels and for free oil changes and more. This year many of the same donors will provide prizes, as will the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The event also includes raffles and vendors.
Participants can register in advance to run or can register the day of the event, beginning at 7 a.m. at the War Memorial Building. Advance registration is recommended to guarantee receiving a T-shirt. The start time will be 9 a.m.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Mooresville Recreation Foundation, which was started a few years ago to help with maintenance of recreational properties and beautification of the many parks in the Mooresville community.
The Mooresville Recreation Department has been hard at work to provide more spaces for residents to be active. On Sept.3, a new $8 million park opened on Mazeppa Road with the help of grants. The 80-acre park includes six regulation-size lighted soccer fields and four fields for softball and baseball. Now the recreation department is working toward opening a similar park on Cornelius Road.
Adams said he is working on creating a similar running event for spring. That one will include a 5K (a little more than 3 miles). The first one will be around St. Patrick's Day.