Geeks, brains, nerds — whatever label given them, they are loveable and worthy of support.
On Saturday, May 4, geek lovers will unite and dress up as their favorite geek to run in the Embrace Your Inner Geek 10K race, with a 5K run/walk also slated for the less committed to the embrace.
The Payson Area Association for Advanced Learners (PAAL) hosts the race.
PAAL supports advanced learning in the Rim Country through assessments, conferences and field trips to places like Washington, D.C. and New York City.
The race course promises to challenge and awe participants with views of the Rim, Mazatzal Mountains and Granite Dells. The racers will complete a loop from Green Valley Park, onto Vista at Payson Golf Course, up the hill to Airport Road and back down to Green Valley Park on McLane.
Janet Nossek, a local amateur runner and mother of four, ran the course last year.
“It’s a beautiful course,” said Nossek, “but that hill is a killer.”
Nossek referred to The Beast, a one-mile climb that gains 300 feet in the first third of the race. However, the top of the hill offers great views.
“The nice thing was to know the worst was over,” said Nossek. “Running along Airport Road, made the rest of the run worth it.”
Race organizer Mary McMullen said runners can count on four water stations along the 10K course and one water station on the 5K course racers pass by twice.
McMullen said the gentle 5K course doubles back on itself, passing by Green Valley Lake and Payson Golf Course twice.
“We have a wide variety of runners, which is perfect,” said McMullen. “Last year, we had runners as young as 10 and as old as 80-plus. We actually got quite a few from not only the Valley, but out-of-state folks that were passing through town during race-time and saw it advertised on the Internet.”
McMullen said the courses have been uploaded onto the Town of Payson’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Web site: www.paysonparks.com. To find information, choose “races” under “sports and activities” to find both routes.
Participants may also sign up for the race on the Town’s Web site. The cost before April 12 is $50 for the 10K and $30 for the 5K.
After April 12, the price increases to $55 for the 10K and $35 for the 5K.
The student rate is $20 for the 10K and $15 for the 5K up to the day of the race.
All pre-registered racers will receive a short-sleeve race shirt. Unfortunately race organizers cannot guarantee shirts will be available on the day of the race.
McMullen said the races would be hand-timed with the top five in the men’s and women’s division receiving awards, plus awards for the fastest times for both students and general participants.
McMullen said family and friends are welcome to support runners — and dress up.
“Costumes are always welcome and they don’t need to show up earlier than the 6:30 a.m. registration start-time,” said McMullen.
“We get a plethora of volunteers from the Rim Country that work as timers, course marshals, set-up and clean-up crews and water station workers, including PAAL families, PUSD teachers and hikers from the Payson Packers,” said McMullen. “This year we have three different student organizations that will be working some of our water stations — STUGO, AcaDec and PAAYC,” with vital help from the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.
PAAL is 501c3 non-profit organization comprised of teachers, parents, educators, and community leaders that support and promote the needs and capabilities of gifted/talented children.
Nossek said her youngest son Colin has enjoyed the support the middle school has given him as a GATE student.
“He’s had a wonderful experience at Rim Country Middle School with Marlene Armstrong and Kristi Kisler,” said Nossek.
If you go:
Donations to PAAL welcome on race day
Location: Green Valley Park (by the amphitheater)
Check in: 6:30 a.m.
Information: Payson Parks, Recreation, (928) 474-5242.