By Jackie Nelson
Excel Industries will be hosting the second annual Hustler Hustle on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. at the Hesston Golf Park. Registration for the event is $25 on race-day.
Excel Industries Global Product Manager and one of the coordinators of the event, Keith Skidmore, said last year’s success spurred this year’s race.
”We were pleased with how much it raised and I think we had a good turn-out. It was a fun event and we enjoyed doing it,” he said.
Last year, Skidmore said there were just under 100 runners and dozens of volunteers and supporters.
“We had a good crowd. We had about 90 runners and all the extra people, we had 150 to 200 people to enjoy it,” he said.
Once again race fees will be donated to the Kansas Aviation Museum.
“The money goes to the T-shirt and a good part of the registration fee goes to the museum. We are making a donation and we are paying for the logistics, race director and all time timing equipment,” said Skidmore.
Those wanting to take part in this year’s Hustler Hustle only need to head to Hesston Golf Park on race-day.
“If they come the day-of, they can look for a tent and awning. It will be clear where to go for registration and picking up a T-shirt, goodie bag and a few other give-aways. It will be near the driving range,” he said.
Since the race is taking place on the Golf Course, golfers are asked to be curtious to racers.
“The back-nine will close at 2 p.m. and [Course Manager]Mike Kellogg will have all the balls picked up. The driving range will be closed all day. There may be some golfers still on the south half,” he said.
This year, Skidmore said Excel changed the date to accommodate schedules and other community events.
“As far as why it is a little later, that was driven by schedules. Some of us are involved in travel, and the late September date did not work for a lot of us.
“Whenever we plan these, we look at what other events are going on – other runs, K-State or KU football and other races,” he said.
This year, Skidmore said the conflicts for the run are minimal.
“Even though there is a K-state game, this was our best bet. There aren’t too many other races this time of year. There are none in Wichita that day, which I think will help drive attendance,” he said.
Racers will have the opportunity to assess the weather and running conditions well before the race.
“We are keeping it later in the day, at 5 p.m. Last year we had a 6 p.m. start, but we think that kept people a little late. We want to get the race done before it gets dark,” he said.
A new feature of this year’s race is the location.
“We think that it will be different than most 5K races. Many are on streets and sidewalks. They might go through a park. We wanted to do something different. Rather than streets, we wanted to do a course similar to the [Swather Special] high school cross country race. We will follow a path close to that. It will be entirely on grass,” he said.
Skidmore added the team is working on procuring a chase-vehicle for the race.
“We hope to have a pace car, like a utility vehicle, or make sure people stay on course. If it is really soft ground, we may have a challenge doing that,” he said.
The natural setting of the race will make marking the course extremely important.
“We want to have a very clearly marked course. We will have to put up more arrows and markers. We plan to have people at key corners. We think it will be more of a challenge as opposed to being on the street. It’s a little more difficult for people to know where to go. We want to make sure the paint lines are clear, arrows are well-placed and marshals are there to make sure runners are headed in the right direction,” he said.
In its second year, Skidmore said the Hustler Hustle has been well received and is hopefully about race-day
“We have had pre-registration and people have been signing up. And, last year, we had a lot of day-of registration, and the race coordinator said that was pretty typical,” he said.
Skidmore said the Kansas weather will be one of the biggest challenges.
“We hope we will have good weather. Having it later in the day, people will have a good idea what kind of weather they are in for and we hope that will drive people to show up the day of, and we plan to be able to accommodate them,” he said.
In addition to the race, runners will have access to food and drinks. A Deejay will be also be onsite for the race.
“We want to make this a community event people come out to, even if they are not racing,” he said.
For those participating in the race, there will be a chance to take home prizes.
“We will have door-prize drawings for runners with numbers. We have free golf, and the AmericInn has given us a one-night stay in their luxury suite as a prize. We have a few Hustler things to give away as well. It will be a fun event,” he said.
Prize drawings, as well as winner awards will take place immediately following the race.
“We want to run a high caliber, professional race. We want everyone to enjoy themselves and we want it done well,” he said.