Representatives from registered Springfield neighborhood organizations will be up bright and early for the Bass Pro Marathon Sunday, Nov. 5. But they won’t be running. They’ll be cheering.
As a way to show off its hometown’s spirit, Bass Pro has again committed $10,000 this year to fund a contest for neighborhood cheering sections, partnering with the City’s Great Neighborhoods program to issue a “neighborhood challenge” to registered neighborhoods across the City. All 16 registered neighborhoods with the City of Springfield are eligible to participate.
Winnings must go toward neighborhood initiatives, such as community gardens, additions to a park or other neighborhood improvements, and will be awarded at the annual Community Partnership of the Ozarks Neighborhood Organization Volunteer Awards (NOVA) in December.
Neighborhoods are again encouraged to choose a theme for their section, and display plenty of signage to let runners know whose section they’re running through. Marathon organizers will begin communicating with the neighborhoods in August about theme selections so they can design course experiences around each neighborhood’s theme. Efforts will be made to place returning neighborhoods in the same locations they’ve had previously.
“We are always excited about this opportunity to work with the neighborhoods along the marathon’s route,” says Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival Director Melissa Bondy. “Many of our participants come in from out of town. We want them to leave knowing how much community pride is in Springfield.”
This year, Bass Pro plans a more in-depth post-race survey to gain helpful feedback from the runners to determine the winners of the cheering sections, based on level of motivation and entertainment provided by each section.
Bondy added that she hopes the neighborhoods will stop by the Marathon Weekend Expo 1-7 p.m. Nov. 3 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 4 at Bass Pro’s White River Conference Center, 600 W. Sunshine St.
“We think they’ll love the expo, with the free information, giveaways and energy of the runners. We hope they will come!”