Runners ready to ‘Loop the Lake’ in Cordele

Runners participate in a past “Loop the Lake,” an annual event benefiting women in need.

Runners participate in a past “Loop the Lake,” an annual event benefiting women in need.

CORDELE, Ga. — Avid runners will soon have an opportunity to get a race under their belts and help out a good cause at the same time.

The Loop the Lake 5K Run & 1 Mile Walk, featuring a scenic loop around Lake Blackshear, will be held at the Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club in Cordele on Saturday.

The 5K run will start at 8 a.m., with the 5K Stroller Roll starting 10 minutes later. The one-mile walk and stroller roll will begin at 8:20 a.m.

Loop the Lake is an annual event that benefits GraceWay Recovery Residence as well as Ruth’s Cottage and Patticake House. The event was originated by Dr. Edward Hellman, a spine surgeon with Spine & Scoliosis Center at Georgia Sports in Tifton.

The costs of the race are underwritten, which means all of the proceeds from the event will be split between the two organizations.

A total of $75,000 was raised at last year’s event, officials say.

“It makes a huge impact in offering (women in need) our services,” said Liz Dixon, executive director of GraceWay. “We rely solely (on donations). Donations allow us to continue to provide long-term care. We are working to meet an unsatisfied need in the region.”

GraceWay is a faith-based, long-term substance abuse treatment facility for women in Albany, and Ruth’s Cottage and Patticake House is a domestic violence prevention and intervention program based in Tifton.

The funds GraceWay receives will go primarily to fund indigent care scholarships for women coming to the facility who are not able to pay for services, Dixon said.

A representative of Ruth’s Cottage could not be reached for comment on the event by Friday afternoon.

Late last week, officials said that at least 200 people had preregistered for the event. Last year, 200 preregistered and a total of 400 people showed up on race day.

This is the seventh year the event has been held, and it has seen growth over the years.

“It has grown because more people know about it, because of the cause and because more and more people are running,” said Amy Fix, the race’s director.

Coordinators are encouraging participants to arrive 45-60 minutes prior to their race start time. Race day registration will take place 6:30 a.m.-7:45 a.m., but runners are urged to preregister and pick up their packets at the resort on Friday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

The one-mile course loops around the campground and the resort and through the area in front of the marina for the finish. The 5K event runs through the Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park and along the lake.

“It’s a beautiful course, and it’s in a great location,” Fix said.

Officials plan to use chip timing for the event. After the races, a 9:30 a.m. pancake breakfast will be available at Cypress Grille. An awards ceremony will follow the breakfast.

Trophies will be awarded for overall male and female winners, masters male and female winners and grand masters male and female winners. Medals will be presented to the top three men and women in their respective age divisions.

Door prizes, including a weekend getaway at the resort, a boat rental at the resort, a running gear gift basket and other items, will be given out.

The event is part of the “Run & See Georgia Grand Prix Series,” a website dedicated to the Loop the Lake race says.

Online registration is available via www.active.com through Thursday. After that point, hopeful participants will have to register at the race.

Registration is currently $25 for the one-mile event and $30 for the 5K run and stroller roll events. On the day of the race, one-mile registration will be $30 and the 5K events will be $35.

For more information, visit www.loopthelake.com.