Wear Your Red, White and Blue for ‘Running of the Flag’ 5K
“Every penny raised goes to the [Portage County] Veterans Relief Fund.”
By Brandi Makuski
Now in its third year, the Running of the Flag 5K is once again raising funds — and awareness — for local veterans in need.
The noncompetitive walk/run is scheduled for Tuesday, July 4, with check-in at 7 AM near the boat landing at Bukolt Park. Participants are encouraged to wear “their most patriotic clothing”, according to organizer Tim Peltier, and to carry an American flag along the course.
Peltier, who works for CN, said he was motivated to start a local veteran-inspired race at the suggestion of his daughter, after she participated in a similar event outside the area.
“We started out with five runners three years ago; we didn’t know where [the event] was really going at that time,” Peltier said. The second year, more than 60 participated. This year, Peltier said he’s hoping for at least three times that.
“And every penny raised goes to the [Portage County] Veterans Relief Fund,” Peltier added.
The VRF is monitored by a three-person committee of county appointees, and doles out funds for Portage Co. veterans who are in a tight spot. Requests for funding are vetted, according to Portage Co. Veterans Services Officer Mike Clements, and typically involve a need for groceries or emergency housing repairs. The funds are paid directly to the entity providing the service or goods, he added.
Holding the walk/run on July 4 was intentional, Peltier said, because the nation’s military veterans are the sole reason for America’s independence.
“It’s just a gratitude you have for the veterans; without them we wouldn’t have our freedom…who knows where we’d be without them and their sacrifices,” Peltier said.
The walk/run is pet and family friendly, he said — and the event is finally garnering some attention from local sponsors.
Bill Hoffman, of Hoffman’s Hobbies “Your Sports Authority”, said he got involved in the project after hearing about it from Peltier, who is a regular customer in the popular sports memorabilia store on Michigan Avenue.
Hoffman said he was motivated to participate because his father and two grandfathers served in the military.
“I did not serve; that’s why I’m so indebted to the people who have,” Hoffman said, adding: “If you’re blessed in life, you should give back.”
The Sears Hometown store on Church St., which Hoffman co-owns with his business partner Caleb Cordy, is also a major sponsor of the event.
Participants in the walk/run will be entered into a raffle for various prizes, to include hotel stays, items from both Sears Hometown and Hoffman’s Hobbies, new bicycles purchased by Dave Suchon of Dave’s Body Shop, pizza and various gift certificates. Event t-shirts are guaranteed for everyone who registers by June 16, but registration will also be open on the day of the race.
Trophies will be awarded for participants wearing the most patriotic outfits, Paltier said. Participants are also encourage to join Peltier in the July 4 parade shortly after the 5K, which takes place in Downtown Stevens Point.
Registration is $25 per person and can be made via U.S. Mail at Tim Peltier, c/o SPROTF, 2024 Whiting Ave., Stevens Point, Wis. 54481, or online at sprunningoftheflagwixsite.com/event. For more information, find the group on Facebook here.