by Sally Drake
For over 40 years, the HMRRC has been the bedrock of the Capital District running community. With a race calendar of nearly 30 events ranging from the mile to the marathon, the club offers its 2,400 members and many thousands more in the region a diverse range of opportunities to race and train.
The club has an equally impressive and long-standing commitment to community service. Significant club revenues from membership and race events are invested directly back into its members and the broader community through a range of programs aimed at supporting the next generation of runners, student athletes, and our neighbors in the areas in which we race and run.
The HMRCC Grant Program provides funding to eligible organizations that support running through projects like trail building and maintenance, the Junior Olympics and the Strong Through Every Mile organization. These grants not only help runners but improve access to outdoor spaces, recreational areas and outreach programs for all area residents. Grant applications are accepted by February 1 and July 1 annually.
The Shrader Scholarship program encourages and supports young runners in their efforts to make running a lifelong part of a healthy lifestyle. On an annual basis, $3,000 non-renewable scholarships are awarded to six runners from Section II planning to attend a college, university or community college on a full-time basis. We are now in our 20th year of the Shrader Scholarship program and have awarded in excess of $175,000 to 73 student athletes from 34 different schools. The 2019 Shrader Scholarship deadline is April 1.
In 2010, we started the Just Run program. This program supports elementary school running programs and provides financial support to teachers who oversee the implementation of the program in their schools and t-shirts to the kids who participate. HMRRC’s Just Run has focused on supporting schools in underserved areas with fewer after-school opportunities.
We also put on a track meet in the spring and a cross-country meet in the fall for the participating schools. Each year more than 25 schools and nearly 3,000 students participate, making our program one of the largest in the nation.
HMRRC also leverages the generous spirit of runners by partnering with the Food Pantries of the Capital District to collect donations at the Winter Series races, which is free to all HMRRC members, and several club events throughout the year. Over 70 pounds of food was donated at the last Winter Series this year. And, since 2004 the CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge has selected one or more Charities of Choice annually. The program selects non-profit organizations in the Capital Region to receive a donation from CDPHP and HMRRC, as well as direct contributions from race participants, in support of local projects. Over the last 16 years, 27 charities have been selected. In 2018, two charities, the Albany Public Library Foundation and Regional Foodbank of Northeast New York shared more than $44,000. The 2019 Charities of Choice are the Family Promise of the Capital Region and the Albany Damien Center.
None of this--from the race events to the scholarship program--would be possible without the volunteers who are the very foundation of the club. Every club event relies almost entirely on volunteers to manage organization and runner safety, and every service program the club oversees depends on volunteers to administer, promote and implement.
Make your running matter by committing to volunteer during at least one HMRRC event this year and be a part of the broad effort to make our community a better place through our shared love and appreciation of running. For more information on all volunteer opportunities, visit https://hmrrc.com/race-info/volunteers.
Sally Drake currently serves as Secretary on the Hudson Mohawk Board of Directors. The Board meets every second Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Point of Woods Community Center in Albany. All members are invited and encouraged to attend the Board’s monthly meetings.