Whether you walk, jog, or run, the Jasper County Conservation Office wants you to participate in the Ninth Annual “Off the Beaten Path” 6K trail race and 3K fun walk on Sept. 21. The 6K starts at 9 a.m. and the 3K at 9:15 a.m. It costs $25 and participants will also receive a long-sleeve T-shirt.
It takes place at Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve. Each event has a separate starting point, and runners and walkers eventually meet in the middle. JCCO Director Keri Van Zante talked about the history of the event.
“I run, and we started talking about ways to raise funds for the nonprofit group and to get people out and recreating in our areas,” Van Zante said. “So we thought any physical activity that we can do in our park that might help people get out there that might not (normally) get out there, and it works.”
Van Zante provided some details on why the fundraising aspect of the event is so important and who the nonprofit group is.
“It’s a fundraiser for our nonprofit group, the Jasper Conservation Connection. This benefits them,” Van Zante said. “That group’s purpose is just mainly environmental education and recognition of our county parks and things to do in our county areas. That’s what their purpose is.”
Van Zante explained the group is a friends group similar to The Friends of Neal Smith.
“The connection has been around about 10 years,” she said. “The ultimate goal of the connection is to help fund the nature center project we are working on. But all along the way, this group’s been funding and doing different projects in our park. They just donated to the playground we just put in at Ashton Park.
“We got a community foundation grant and then our non-profit group gave us the rest for it,” she continued. “They helped with the shelter that’s out at Krumm. There’s a solar powered shelter out there with a flush toilet, it’s the only flush toilet that we have. They’ve donated a couple of family-sized cook grills out at a couple of our parks. We are always doing something with them.”
Van Zante also said runners from all around Iowa will participate.
“I just looked at registration and we have people coming from Ames, Waukee, Waterloo, Grinnell, Pella, it’s kind of fun,” she said. “People who wouldn’t normally come to the park are coming.”
There are different winners for each age category and the first, second and third place winners of the 6K and 3K will receive medals.
Van Zante is excited and would love for more people to sign up in addition to more than 100 who already registered.
“I’m just excited for new people to try it out. It’s always exciting to see new names and its exciting seeing the repeat names coming back and the new names coming from all around the state. It’s pretty popular,” she said.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.