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ROMG Chamber and humane society team up for 5K

On May 16, animal activism and business networking will share a venue on the grounds of the Baltimore Humane Society in Reisterstown as part of the Cross Country 5K.

The event is organized by the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Chamber of Commerce. Some proceeds will benefit the chamber, with a portion being given to the humane society as event beneficiary.

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"Many of our larger events will have a give-back component, like our Taste of the Town, we donate money back to local food pantries, so we like to keep it in our local community and … we like to have a nonprofit component to our events," said Colleen Brady, president of the chamber. "This is promoting not only exercise and getting out there and enjoying the morning as a family, but it's got a great give-back component … the humane society is such a popular local nonprofit. [People] can come out, they can stay afterwards and visit with the animals, maybe even adopt an animal."

Wendy Goldband, director of the humane society, said she was eager to accept the chamber's offer to act as beneficiary of the event.

"They came to us; they were looking to do a run, they needed a good venue, they wanted it to be a chamber partner, which we are a partner with the chamber … and they came to us and we jumped on it," she said. "Not only just for the financial proceeds, but I love the opportunity to be able to bring people to our grounds, especially a population of people who may not have come to us otherwise."

Brady said the race will be held on a marked-off trail area of the society property.

"It's a self-contained run," she said. "We're not stopping any traffic, so it's a great way to showcase the beautiful grounds of the humane society."

Goldband said the land is a perfect area for this event.

"We're on 365 acres, so we've got lots of land and we're only using 22 ½ of them, actually, so it's a great venue for a cross-country run," she said.

Registration is $35 before the event or $40 the day of, which includes an event T-shirt. It is $20 for participants 12 and younger. Participants can sign up at http://www.romgchamber.com. They can pick up a packet, complete with their race number and chip, at Chesapeake Physical and Aquatic Therapy, at 10995 Owings Mills Blvd., Suite 210, in Owings Mills, from noon to 5 p.m. May 15. Or they may pick up their packet on the day of the event.

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"When it's a timed race they get a chip that's tied to their shoe," Brady said. "That's how we determine who the winner is."

The event will begin at 7 a.m. with registration. The race will commence at 8:30 a.m.

At the conclusion of the race, complimentary catered food and refreshments from The Fractured Prune, Sam's Bagels and Java Mammas will be offered, and a "sponsorship village" will be available for the perusal of participants.

Brady said the village will serve as "an opportunity for our sponsors to come and talk about their businesses."

The village will consist of event and chamber sponsors who will have the opportunity to represent their businesses and network with members of the community.

Goldband said she appreciates the opportunity to help showcase local businesses while raising awareness and funds for the society.

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"I always think that it's great to have our sponsors who feel that they want to reach out and support us, and giving them the opportunity to show what they're all about is certainly something we want to do," she said. "[I'd] always like to repay our sponsors any way we can and I hope that people will go in and give them business."

The event will also feature free activities for children, such as crafts and coloring.

"We will have activities for the children because a lot of families come together and then the parent who's not running will just hang out with the kids, so we're going to have coloring, we're going to have a craft for them, and their craft is like an enrichment toy for the dogs [at the society]," Brady said. "We're working on getting a caricature artist."

Goldband said enrichment toys are extremely important for shelter animals to have, as they stimulate both the mind and body.

"We have a number of activities that we do with kids for educational outreach, and one of the projects that we have kids do is that we make enrichment toys," she said. "And enrichment toys — the idea behind them is the animals sitting at the shelter need to be stimulated, they need to be kept active, so one of the things we do is give them toys [to play with]."

She also said the activity of making the toys gives children a meaningful way to contribute to the cause.

"That way they're doing something to benefit the animals, too, and not just to do for doing's sake," she said.

Anne Wismer, who will be participating in the run, has affiliations with both the chamber and the society. Her husband's company, Zenmar Power Tool & Hoist Systems, for which she serves as vice president, is a chamber sponsor.

She has also been a supporter of the Baltimore Humane Society since she adopted her first rescue dog, Murphy, from the shelter 4 ½ years ago.

"I keep in touch with some of the people with the humane society ever since we got our dog there," she said. "I keep in contact with them regularly and make donations whenever I can."

Wismer said she has already recruited some of her friends to participate in the event.

"I'm a runner and I already run, but it's just one more way to raise money for them, and I have a lot of friends in the running community and I can ask and get them to run as well," she said. "There's already about 10 of us running because I've asked them to run … and it's something that I feel strongly about."

The 5K will be adjudicated by Charm City Run, a race coordination group that will score and time the run. Brady said the race is expected to end at about 10:30, at which time several winners will be awarded trophies.

Winners will be the top three men and women overall, as well as the top male and female in age groups of 10 and younger, 11 to 15, 16 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70 and older. Goldband said she's excited for the event.

"It's gonna be fun," she said. "There's not many cross-country runs in the area. There's a lot of the races on the street and maybe some of the larger marathons … but we've got the perfect grounds for a cross-country run and they're beautiful, so it's going to be a lovely, lovely run if you're a runner."

410-857-3316

Twitter.com/Ctimes_ROMG

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If you go:

When: May 16. Registration will be held at 7 a.m.; the race will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Where: The Baltimore Humane Society, 1601 Nicodemus Road, Reisterstown

Cost: Registration is $35 before the event or $40 day-of. Cost is $20 for participants younger than 12 years old. Cost includes event T-shirt.

For more information: To learn more about the event or to register, visit http://www.romgchamber.com or call 410-702-7073.

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