4 Reasons East Texans Love the Fresh 15
The sixth annual Fresh 15 race is this weekend, and it's expected to be bigger and better than ever. What started out as a local fundraiser has become a destination race drawing people from all over the nation.
Brookshire Grocery Company started the event to motivate employees and community members to become healthier. From the beginning, they focused on making it not just a race, but an experience. Here are 4 reasons people love the Fresh 15.
This year, volunteers packed more than 5,000 swag bags for runners. They're filled with groceries, goodies and coupons.
The Fresh 15 Facebook page has a swag reveal video that shows off race T-shirts in lime green and orange. Shirts are available only for runners, and you'll see locals wearing them proudly the rest of the year. The same video shows a black long-sleeved pullover available for purchase. If you're in need of race day bling, participants also receive a medal.
In the same breath, runners rave and complain about the race route. It winds through beautiful Hollytree neighborhoods, and it also includes some pretty intense hills. This year's course is similar to previous years with one important change. Due to participant feedback, event planners removed the 15K turnaround at Hollytree for less congestion.
There's also a 5K course and a 1K course for "Lil Freshies." The 1K course starts at Three Lakes Middle School and makes a big rectangle around the campus, starting and finishing by Hutto Orthodontics.
A Chance to Give Back
Race setup is a year-long process. Families and serious runners have made it an annual tradition. One of the best things about Fresh 15 is that 100 percent of race revenue goes to non-profit organizations. Event sponsors like Hormel Foods and John Soules Foods cover the cost of the race, so runner registration fees go to local charities like Bethesda Health Clinic in Tyler and the Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County. In just five years, the race has raised more than $600,000.
After the race, there's a post-race party in the runner's only area. Special vendors, community retailers and a band are all there to celebrate. Runners receive extras like 15k beach towels and sunglasses. This year's entertainment is provided by Zoodust, a party band from Austin. More than 20 vendors set up around the area with product samples available to anyone who attends.
Registration for 2019 closes March 1. Parking is crazy and law enforcement closes lanes during the race, so runners must be in place by 7 a.m. on March 2.