Second Quarter-Century 5K Races Ahead With New Ideas

Look for one big change at the Aug. 31, 2019 Kentlands/Lakelands 5K: Everything will be moved closer to the Main Street/Market Square start and finish line. The Merchant Expo will no longer use Center Point Way. Instead, vendors will be more visible to runners and spectators with booths in front of the Lakelands office building and on Market Street West.

“We’re listening to our sponsors who felt the last few years they were really separated from the racers,” said Elisabeth Monaco, executive director of the Kentlands Community Foundation that organizes the 5K.

Another plus is that Center Point Way will now be open to traffic. “People are talking to us, and we’re listening that they feel trapped until noon on a Saturday,” Monaco said. “By having Center Point Way open, we’re going to make it easier for people to go to Whole Foods, to go to Starbucks.”

Moon bounces, 106.7 the Fan DC sports radio and a second tent to help with food distribution will join the timing tent in front of the Lakelands office building between the Main Street start and finish line.

Even more importantly, the First Aid Station will move from Center Point Way to the race start line. Ailing runners can be treated faster, and it will be easier for race participants and spectators to report lost children and misplaced items.

Another new feature is scaffolding for the race arch. “In previous years with the slightest wind, the balloon arch just doesn’t work,” Monaco said. In addition to strengthening the arch, the scaffolding will host sponsor posters on its left and right legs with balloons going across the arch.

Improvements new last year will be returning. “We’re going to continue giving people plenty of notice that they’re going to be impacted by street closures,” Monaco said. The week before the 5K, volunteers will put a notice on every car parked along the race route, “because if they’re parked there one Saturday, they’re probably going to be parked there another Saturday,” she explained.

Also new last year, look for more large posters on light posts throughout the neighborhood alerting residents of street closures, as well as personalized race bibs and photos of every runner crossing the finish line.

The Quince Orchard cross country team will continue its longtime volunteer commitment to run flyers door to door along the race route in the days leading up to the 5K.

Another tried-and-true race feature is coming back. The original Kentlands/Lakelands 5K logo will return for the race’s 26th year. “We updated it a little bit,” Monaco said. “We put a little acorn up on top of the finial, it’s very subtle, and it identifies the race as being a  Kentlands/Lakelands race.”

The logo began to be used three or four years into the race, she noted. Before that, the 5K was “more of a neighborhood foot race when they closed the pool. … Now, of course, everything is completely high tech, and it’s a certified USATF course.”

And the original logo hearkens back to the 5K purpose. “That’s the thing that I’m trying to stress this year—that it’s a race for charity. It builds community, it’s a great booster for volunteerism,” she acknowledged, “but a lot of the money out of the net proceeds … does go to some really worthy causes.”

The Foundation was able to donate $14,500 last year. “That’s a lot of money for a small foundation,” Monaco said.

This year’s beneficiaries are the Maryland Senior Olympics, the Dolores C. Swoyer Scholarship Fund, The Dwelling Place and Mercy Health Clinic.

The race wouldn’t be possible without its sponsors and volunteers. The Foundation relies on sponsors like Stiles Dentistry and Asbury Methodist Village that return year after year, Monaco said. New sponsors for this year include AoPS Academy Gaithersburg, providing math and language arts enrichment to students in kindergarten through grade 12, and Forbes Design Center, now offering window treatments in Kentlands.

To make the race happen, the Foundation needs 265 volunteers in a variety of roles from packet pickup at Artists on Market to race marshals all along the route.

“When you volunteer, you get to choose what you’re doing,” Monaco said. “Some people have their favorite corners when they marshal … and then some people have their favorite activity. A lot of people really like packet pickup, other people really like handing out the bananas that Giant donates year after year.”

In addition to a 5K Volunteer cotton t-shirt, all volunteers are invited to a banquet dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the Kentlands Mansion, along with race sponsors and beneficiaries. A 5K sponsor, Potomac Grocer even donates food for the dinner.

The Foundation hopes to beat last year’s numbers of 989 registered runners. “We want to hit 1,000 runners to still be the largest road race in Montgomery County,” Monaco said.

To register as a runner or sign up as a volunteer, visit kentlandsfoundation.org/annual-5k.

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