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Hunger Run gets new name and management – Negative Split

March 14, 2019

The Hunger Run organized by the Union Gospel Mission and Second Harvest has undergone some changes this year.

The fundraiser is now being overseen by Negative Split, a local race organizing company owned by physical therapist Ryan Hite, and has been folded into the annual Negative Split run.

The two nonprofit organizations teamed up four years ago to put on the Hunger Run as a fundraiser and to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness in the community. A postrace discussion last year led to the decision to collaborate with Negative Split, said UGM Development Director Wil Wilhelm.

“They’re a lot more efficient at managing races because that’s what they do,” Wilhelm said.

The Hunger Run was based in Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley. The Negative Split run that now benefits the Union Gospel Mission and Second Harvest will depart from My Fresh Basket in Kendall Yards on April 7.

Hite said the Negative Split run has been his signature event since 2013 and he’s pleased to have new partners in the race. “We’ve kind of combined forces with the Union Gospel Mission and Second Harvest,” he said. “I think these organizations do some incredible things in the community.”

In previous years UGM and Second Harvest split the profits from the Hunger Run after the bills were paid and they will be getting a portion of the proceeds from the Negative Split run, Wilhelm said. “We’re going to have a little more cost, but we’re going to have more runners as well,” he said.

Wilhelm said it’s common for nonprofit organizations to put on fun runs as fundraisers and it seemed a natural fit to work with Second Harvest to put one on. “We felt by partnering together we could show that nonprofits could work together on a common cause,” he said. “It’s really nice to be able to work with Second Harvest. They’re a great group of people.”

Wilhelm said attracting a couple hundred runners is considered a success, and that’s what everyone was expecting in the Hunger Run’s first year. “I know the first year when we had 700 runners, we were floored,” he said.

The next two years each drew about 750 participants and Wilhelm said he hopes there are more than that this year at the Negative Split run. “We did not set a specific goal, but 800 to 900 runners would be great,” he said.

Wilhelm, who isn’t a runner, said it’s a relief to hand off the task of organizing the run instead of trying to fit it in with the rest of his work. Hite has a lot more experience getting the message out and attracting runners, he said. “It is very nice to be able to depend on Ryan and his employees,” he said. “He totally understands our causes. He’s been really, really great to work with.”

The early start for the half-marathon, which is for people who plan to take longer than three hours to finish the race, is at 7:30 a.m. The half-marathon mass start is at 9 a.m., followed by the 10K start at 9:45 a.m. and the 5K start at 10 a.m.

The cost depends on the distance participants sign up for and how early they register, Hite said. “The earlier you sign up, the bigger the discount,” he said.

Registration is open at nsplit.com/negativesplit2019. Prices are currently $95 for the half marathon, $55 for the 10K and $50 for the 5K. Those prices will increase as race day approaches. Everyone who finishes their distance will get a medal, swag bag, photos and “the best finisher shirt ever.”

Runners can pick up their packets at a race expo at RiverPark Square in downtown Spokane from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 6. People can also sign up for late registration at the expo.

Though he isn’t organizing the race anymore, Wilhelm plans to be there on race day with his running shoes on. In previous years he completed the 5K but said he may try for the 10K this year. “I’m not very fast,” he said. “I’m not going to set any world records.”