A month ago, runners competed in a course race, not only for bragging rights, but a chance to give back to the Centre County community.
Tuesday night, organizers of the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon revealed its $26,227 fundraised total to benefit Tides , a local nonprofit that helps support grieving children and families due to the death of a loved one.
Tides executive director Leslie Finton said events like the relay are huge for the non-profit.
“A generous gift like this pays for our programming for a quarter of the year,” Finton said. “We were honored to be a recipient this year.”
Tussey Mountainback chose to support Tides this year through its 50-mile October footrace, which featured 168 ultramarathoners and 120 relay teams, according to a press release issued by Tussey Mountainback.
Each year Tussey Mountainback receives applications from charities and they choose one to support, Tussey Mountainback Event Director Mike Casper said.
“We try to choose an organization that is doing something locally,” Casper said. “We were familiar with the support Tides provides local families, and wanted to help them make a difference.”
Casper founded Tussey Mountainback in 2000 with a friend when he realized a lot of people were not aware of the extensive running trails in the area. He said he wanted to organize the race to bring light to the trails to the public.
“We mapped out a full 50 mile course, and interest just grew from there,” Casper said. “Each year we gained more runners and relay groups. Now we have had 800 person races.”
Tides offers a peer support system in which children aged pre-school to 18 and their families can meet and discuss their coping with the loss of a parent or loved-one, Finton said.
The peer support system pairs children with other children their own age, Finton said. Tides provide the place for the children to meet so they do not feel alone in their grief, she added.
In the past, Tussey Mountainback has held runs to support Housing Transitions, Inc. , the State Theatre and the Centre Hall Library , Casper said.
Yashwanth Tummala (gradaute-mechanical engineering) joined Tussey Mountainback through a friend and competed for the second time this year.
“It’s great that all the money we raise through running goes to causes like Tides,” Tummala said.