“The race is in its 11th year,” said event organizer Gail Rothman. “It started as a small fundraiser put on by some teachers and has grown into a signature Decatur event.”
Rothman, the executive director of the race’s beneficiary, the Decatur Education Foundation, said they expect a record-breaking 2,500 participants Saturday.
“It is our biggest fundraising event,” she said. “It will raise over $75,000.”
The foundation provides a wide variety of perks to eight schools and 3,500 students.
Oakhurst Elementary School Principal Mary Mack said her school received help in several subjects — English, geology, art, health and math.
“Tour deCatur and the foundation assisted Oakhurst in literacy initiatives with books for students at different grade levels, a third-graders’ rocks and mineral expedition, and a local artist working with the art teachers and students to make life-size puppets,” she said.
The foundation helped the school put on a health and wellness festival, tutor students in math and create a kindergarten science experiment called Global Worming, Mack said.
“It also provided grant opportunities for staff,” she said about unique classroom experiences like a metal pour, which teacher Beverly Beyer called “a huge success.”
Rothman said that is the point of the race.
“It’s the single biggest event that supports the children and youth of Decatur,” she said.
But it is also the event that gives back.
“Some run because of the course itself — a moderate challenge, slopes and straight-aways, wending its way through city thoroughfares and neighborhood streets,” Rothman said.
It ends where it starts, with “a dramatic entrance” into Decatur High School stadium.
“It’s a race that’s uniquely Decatur,” Rothman said. “We’ve staged 10 of these races now, and while no two are alike, they share one thing in common. The Tour deCatur is truly a race for the community.”
Other benefits to schools have included helping students attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration, launch a newspaper, build robots, go to camp and make rain barrels.
“Individuals, companies and organizations contribute funds and volunteer time,” Rothman said. “With these resources and energy, the foundation makes things happen for Decatur’s youth.”
From awarding grants to contributing scholarship funds or buying supplies, the underlying motivation is to “meet a need, remove an obstacle or ignite other action,” Rothman said.