By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Tom Rhine is not your run-of-the mill runner; he’s an ultra marathon runner. He’s done long runs of 100 plus miles and 24-hour runs.
He decided to put his skill and love for running toward helping others. Last year the Bridgeport resident created the first-ever RunOneDay event highlighting the 24-hour run concept, which he succeeded in completing.
This year, Rhine will again do a 24-hour run and organize and head up this unique fund-raising event that will benefit the United Way of Harrison County. Rhine is also the vice chair for the agency’s 2016 Campaign.
Rhine explains that the 24-hour run concept parallels the work of United Way partner agencies. Many, such as domestic violence shelter and services agencies, are on-call and help people on a 24/7 basis.
“The 24-hour concept resonated with me – really made me think about what’s happening in our community. While most people are sleeping, the work of the United Way agencies is operating on an all-day, every-day schedule,” he reports. “It doesn’t ever stop. There are needs to be addressed every day.”
This year’s theme “Take Steps to Save Lives” was chosen to be a reminder that every day the United Way-supported agencies are working on the front lines to help make the community a better place to live, organizers say.
RunOneDay is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. (with the kickoff at 8:30 a.m.) Saturday, Nov. 21 and will end at 8:02 a.m. the next day at the shelter at the Clarksburg City Park in Nutter Fort. Runners and walkers of all abilities are welcome. Registration is only $25 per person. This year’s run added team and walkers divisions.
Rhine hopes many people do get involved: “Rally behind one of your friends to sponsor them for each mile they complete; it helps encourage them to keep going – or for just a straight amount.”
Businesses and individuals can sponsor the participants. Last year the event raised almost $7,000 that went directly into the United Way Fund.
“This year we’ve already raised more than $5,600,” Rhine reports. “We have a lot of sponsors this year – about 17 businesses so far.”
Assistant Director for the Harrison County United Way Tina Kopp appreciates what Rhine and the other runners and supporters are doing to benefit the community.
“We’re just so grateful to Tom for organizing this event,” she said. “It is two-fold. One is to raise awareness about the partner agencies of United Way; and two is to raise funds for our 2016 Campaign. We encourage all community members to come out this weekend and show their support for Tom.”
To learn how to register, donate or sponsor a runner, call the United Way at (304) 624-6337, or visit www.unitedwayhcwv.org or on Facebook at RunOneDay. People can also text “Run2015” to the number 41444 to make a donation.
Rhine said the run can push people physically beyond what they believed possible, which correlates also to showing them that they can give more than they thought possible.
“We can do a lot more than we think we can do,” he stated. “And we can do a lot more for our community than we may think we can do. We can all, literally, take steps to save a life.”