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Forging a New Trail

An overlap in this coach's interests with the need for a fundraiser has led a high school golf team to host a trail run that will be held in May. 

Faced with the challenge of raising money to send his three-person team to a state competition, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) High School Girls' Head Golf Coach Jamey Curlee was looking for something new to try instead of turning to a golf tournament. "I've coached football, baseball, and cross-country for 21 years, but this is my first year coaching golf," he says. "Last year's coach held a golf tournament, but they didn't make a big profit, so I wanted to try something else.
 
"I was out running on some trails in and around the Trussville Sports Complex, which is a large facility housing baseball, softball, and tennis courts," Curlee continues. "As I was running, I thought, 'Why not raise money through a race here?' There are a handful of 5Ks in the Trussville area that block the roads off and it's a big hassle, since they have to get the police involved and city permission. But this is something different that no one else is doing."
 
Planning for the inaugural Trussville Trail Run, which offers both a five- and 10-kilometer route, started in November. "Once I checked to see if the team wanted to do it, I got permission from the Trussville Parks and Recreation Department and then the Chamber of Commerce," Curlee says. "Next I got permission from the school to hold the trail run as a fundraiser for the team."

From there, Curlee started working with the team to recruit sponsors. "We start the golf season in January and that's also around when we were ready to start looking for sponsorships," he says. "We've already gotten a couple of corporate sponsors, which has covered the cost of the race t-shirts."
 
Advertising the run has gone through local channels. "With a small team, it takes a little longer to disperse the information, but we've advertised by word-of-mouth, local newspaper, and flyers," Curlee says. "I've also pinned some flyers to trees on the trail, reminding folks that are walking and running there about the race."
 
In addition, the fundraisers is posted on active.com, a Web site that lists races and events nationwide, and allows runners to register for races directly from that site. "There are lots of runners around the Birmingham area and almost all of them know about active.com," Curlee says. "You can go on there and check for races within 50 miles of your area. It will send you information about them and you can register if you want."
 
With a month remaining before the run, registrations are starting to come in, with more expected. "We're hoping we'll have 30 or 40 runners, and it would be great if we had 50," Curlee says. "Since we have our biggest expenses paid by sponsors, we'll hopefully make $2,500 this year.
 
"Of course, it will be 10,000 times easier next time," he continues. "I think this event can build because it's unique and there are people out there who want to do something different every now and then."



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