Proceeds from Driftless Half Marathon distributed to area emergency response agencies


Lansing Fire Department ... The Driftless Half Marathon donated a portion of the proceeds from its 2019 event held in October to the Lansing Fire Department. Pictured above at the donation presentation, left to right, are: Lansing Fire Department members Jamie Rasque, Josh Mohn, Ben Verdon, Troy Hill and Tony Becker, and Driftless Half Marathon committee members Amanda Hess, Rebecca Manning, Becky Rea and Maryann Baldwin. Submitted photo.

Lansing EMS ... The Driftless Half Marathon donated a portion of the proceeds from its 2019 event held in October to Lansing Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Pictured above at the donation presentation, left to right, are: Mike Brennan and Brittany Darling of Lansing EMS, Driftless Half Marathon founder and race coordinator Amanda Hess and Ben Ghelf of Lansing EMS. Submitted photo.

Lansing Police Department Kindness Campaign ... The Driftless Half Marathon donated a portion of the proceeds from its 2019 event held in October to the Lansing Police Department’s Kindness Campaign. Pictured above at the donation presentation, left to right, are: Driftless Half Marathon founder and race coordinator Amanda Hess, Lansing Police Chief Conrad Rosendahl, and Driftless Half Marathon committee member Maryann Baldwin. Submitted photo.

Harpers Ferry EMS ... The Driftless Half Marathon donated a portion of the proceeds from its 2019 event held in October to Harpers Ferry Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Pictured above at the donation presentation, left to right, are: Driftless Half Marathon founder and race coordinator Amanda Hess, Becky Benzing of Harpers Ferry EMS, and Driftless Half Marathon committee member Maryann Baldwin. Submitted photo.

Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department K9 Fund ... The Driftless Half Marathon donated a portion of the proceeds from its 2019 event held in October to the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department K9 Fund. Pictured above at the donation presentation, left to right, are: Allamakee County Sheriff’s Deputy Ross Kolsrud, Driftless Half Marathon founder and race coordinator Amanda Hess, and Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick. Submitted photo.

The Driftless Half Marathon committee, coming off a second successful event, spent the holiday season distributing event proceeds to area emergency response agencies and law enforcement. Through efforts of sponsors, volunteers and runners, the Driftless Half Marathon has been able to give back to its host community to the tune of over $8,000 in donated funding. Proceeds from the 2019 event produced donations to the Lansing and Harpers Ferry Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Departments, the Lansing Police Department’s Kindness Campaign, a scholarship to Kee High School, and the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department K9 Fund, all of which are pictured in the photos surrounding this article.

The second annual Driftless Half Marathon was held in Lansing October 12. A total of 263 runners were registered to run the half marathon, half relay, or 5K, with registrations growing from 220 in 2018. The Driftless Half Marathon was created in 2017 by a few Lansing community members and runners. The committee’s main goal is to bring people from across the country to the area to discover why the race has become known as ‘The Most Scenic Half Marathon’, while also giving back to the community that helps host the event. The event has drawn people from as far away as Washington, California, Arizona, Texas and many surrounding states.

“It really is a community-led event, everyone gets involved,” says Amanda Hess, founder and race director. “There is so much behind-the-scenes planning with the county engineer, sheriff’s department and safety coordinator; they’re so great to work with. We have some of the very best fire and EMS volunteers in the area. They not only lend out their equipment and building to accommodate the post-race events, but they’re also out on the course from the start line ensuring that our runners safely get to the finish line. We receive so many compliments about how our runners feel safe seeing these men and women traveling up and down the course.”

Tony Becker, Lansing Fire Chief at the time of the event, had this to say about the department’s involvement: “I feel this is very rewarding to support a cause that turns around and donates back to us and supports us. Like many times in our small community, it is so neat to see people and organizations working together to help each other out and support one another. This half marathon has numerous volunteers that work hard to bring people to our area to see the true beauty our area has to offer, it’s just another great event that gives us a chance to show off our town and how great of a place it is and the great people it has. Hats off to the wonderful volunteers who spend countless hours planning this event and putting this event on.”

The 13.1-mile half marathon course starts a mile north of Harpers Ferry on the Great River Road. Runners take a detour onto Red Oak Road giving them the ultimate view of the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin bluffs. Runners return to Great River Road at Wexford and run to the finish line at the Lansing Fire and EMS Station.

Because the course is an active roadway, many precautions are taken into consideration for the safety of the runners. At the start, the Harpers Ferry Volunteer Fire Department provides a fire truck to enable runners to see until the sun rises. The Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office temporarily shuts the road down while runners take off at the designated 7:30 a.m. start time.

“We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Driftless Half Marathon and we thank the staff for their support. The event is well-planned and we enjoy seeing the smiles on the runners as they come by.  It’s not unusual to see runners stop to take pictures of the beautiful scenery, which makes the event extra special,” says Becky Benzing of the Harpers Ferry volunteer EMS department.

The Driftless Half Marathon donated proceeds from this year’s event to the Lansing Police Department’s Kindness Campaign. Through this program, the department rewards local residents for doing random acts of kindness by providing gift certificates to local restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores. Lansing Police Chief Conrad Rosendahl commented that “holidays can be a tough time of year for many people. We don’t know struggles others are going through. We alone can’t change the world, but a small act of kindness may change one person’s world.”

New to the event this year was a pancake breakfast hosted by Kee High School choir students. The goal was to raise funds to help cover the costs of traveling to Europe for choir. The runners enjoyed a warm pancake and sausage breakfast after crossing the finish line.

“The breakfast was a great way to get the non-running community involved. We look forward to other fundraising organizations joining us in the coming years,” says Hess. “Many thanks to the Allamakee County Pork Producers for providing the pork sausage.”

Driftless Half Marathon race committee members include Amanda Hess, Maryann Baldwin, Rebecca Manning, Becky Rea, Amanda Robley and Brooke Welsh of the Lansing area. The committee appreciates the following sponsors for their support of this year’s Driftless Half Marathon: Cunningham Hardware, Eagle Ridge Realty, Welsh Family Organic Farms, Kerndt Brothers Bank, Lansing Fitness Center, Bluff Country Meats, W&M Ag, Trinity Fabricators, Inc., Waukon Feed Ranch, Gundersen Health Systems, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Alliant Energy, New Albin Savings Bank, Reel Core, Inc., Stoney Creek Inn, WW Homestead Dairy, Culligan Water, Ness Pumping and KNEI Radio.
 

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