By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
FORT HUNTER -- Some might be trying to beat last year's race records; others might be working toward a personal victory. The rest might just want to take advantage of scenery, fresh air, and good company as they give back to a great cause.
No matter what their reasons, the upcoming second annual Rally in the Valley 5K and Duathalon will bring the community together while raising funds for Montgomery County's Habitat for Humanity.
"It doesn't exclude anyone -- from walkers to triathletes," said Chapter President and event coordinator Matt Ossenfort. "There's something for everyone, which is why we're getting such a good response from participants."
Registration is open right through the June 1 event, which will start and end at the Fort Hunter Fire Station. Those interested in registering or volunteering can do so online at www.rallyinthevalleyforhabitat.com, or can contact Ossenfort at 694-1955 to be mailed an entry form.
Participants can choose to participate in the 5-kilometer walk/run, or they could compete as individuals or members of a relay team in the Duathalon event. Duathalon competitors will take part in the initial 5-K run, pedal a 20-mile cycling leg, and cap the competition with a final 5-K run.
The 5K -- just over three miles -- is an "out and back" route along Queen Anne Street, while the bike course is a single scenic loop to Fultonville that offers some challenging hills and dips.
There will be some aid stations along the way, and participants will be served refreshments.
Additionally, those who register have the opportunity to sign up for a second race at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam June 23, in which Habitat partnered with Rick's Robo Car Wash. Both Habitat and the Shuttleworth Park Foundation will benefit from the latter race, which is also a 5K. Signing up for both events at once will land participants a discounted registration fee.
Spectators are encouraged to come out and support the rally, as there will be post-race festivities including food, children's activities and an awards ceremony.
The race's main sponsors are St. Mary's Healthcare and MCT Federal Credit Union.
St. Mary's Healthcare Spokeswoman Jerri Cortese said the event has all the factors the hospital looks for when it partners for events in the community.
"One of the basic things is we look at what the community's health needs are, and how can we assist? Habitat is truly a community need, no question," she said. "Second, it's healthy, and promotes preventative health measures and maintenance. Lastly, one of the things we look for is whether it's family-oriented, and this one is. Not every event has all those facets, but this one does. It's perfect."
There are still some sponsorship spots available. Those interested can call Ossenfort by May 20.
Hundreds are expected to participate in the three-race event, which will help give some needy individuals a roof over their heads.
All of the proceeds will benefit Habitat For Humanity's Montgomery County chapter, and the Fort Hunter Volunteer Fire Department. Last year, Ossenfort said the organization gave the firefighters $1,000.
"Every dollar goes back into the community," Ossenfort said.
A donated lot on Brookside Avenue is the first property the chapter is hoping to develop. Ossenfort said the group has received a variance approval from the city of Amsterdam to start the work.
"We have potential partner families, and we're working through the family selection process," Ossenfort said. "We're also considering a number of countywide Brush for Kindness projects, like roofs and windows."
A Brush with Kindness was developed to help local community members with home repairs, and some projects of that nature have already been accomplished.