A growing tradition in Henry County is set to continue this weekend, in an effort to raise money for Henry Medical Center.
The Pacemaker 5000 race is scheduled for Saturday at Crystal Lake Golf & Country Club, 100 Crystal Lake Blvd., in Hampton. Registration will begin at 6 p.m., at Higher Living Christian Church, at 2455 Mt. Carmel Road, in Hampton.
The race will start at 7:30 p.m., at the country club, and will include five-kilometer and 10-kilometer races, as well as a one-mile walk, and a Tot Trot for kids.
Funds generated through the race will go toward programs, services and equipment at Henry Medical Center, said Adam Stanfield, executive director of the Henry Medical Center Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the hospital.
He said the Pacemaker 5000, now in its eighth year, has been successful in providing money for the hospital since its inception. Stanfield expects that trend to continue this weekend.
"Last year, gross revenues were $33,000, and we had about 650 people participate," he said. "In the past two years, we've raised $53,000 in gross revenue. This year, we have the potential to break $40,000."
Registration prices are $30 for the 10K race, $20 for the 5K race, and $10 for the one-mile walk. There is no charge for the children to participate in the Tot Trot.
Stanfield acknowledged that fund-raisers, in the current economy, could be seen as a luxury which some people cannot afford.
However, he said, the Pacemaker 5000 has continued to maintain a level of importance among local residents.
"What we're seeing is contrary to everything that's being communicated in the marketplace," he said. "We've already surpassed last year's total gross revenues, and as of [Wednesday] night, we surpassed last year's pre-registrations. Currently, we have 549 who are pre-registered for the event, and we'll probably top 600 pre-registered. I'm projecting to surpass 800 participants, total.
"It's in support of the hospital, and people recognize the importance of having access to quality medical care close to home," Stanfield continued. "Individuals are becoming more health-conscious. We have the addition of a 10K race. From a sponsorship perspective, companies are seeing the value in partnering with the foundation, and its unique way of providing value for our sponsors."
Stanfield said although the race has been held in the daytime in previous years, organizers are doing something different this year.
"New for 2011, Dr. Peto Fallas is chair for the pacemaker, the visionary behind moving the event to the evening, and adding a 10K race to the event," said Stanfield. "Due to the event being held at night, we are doing a luau after the event, with the meal provided by the Henry Council for Quality Growth, featuring Executive Chef Zach Patterson, of Crystal Lake Golf & Country Club."
Fallas owns the McDonough-based Fallas Family Vision practice. He was eager to oversee this year's Pacemaker 5000, because he wanted to "build up the already great race that it is."
"I brought in some different perspective on it," said Fallas. "We've made some changes to increase the number of participants. Sometimes you have people who don't want to race because it's too early in the morning. This will give them a chance to rest, relax and not rush, and be able to attend the race at night."
Donna Braddy, director of marketing and public relations for Henry Medical Center, said foundation fund-raisers have been instrumental in helping the hospital to improve its services over the years. This year's Pacemaker 5000, she said, will be no different.
"They get wonderful sponsorships, and lots of runners, so it's a really big race, and they raise lots of funds to help the hospital," said Braddy. "We can't do what we do without the foundation and all of the volunteers who work with the foundation. [The race] is just outright fun, but at the same time it's raising money for the hospital, so it's got two great purposes."
For more information, visit www.henrymedical.com/foundation.