Sports events receive financial help from Columbia convention bureau

Thursday, February 20, 2014 | 6:09 p.m. CST; updated 7:24 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 20, 2014

COLUMBIA — The Go Girl Run Half Marathon and 5K is receiving funding for the first time from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with another round of funding for the Missouri Special Olympics.

The Go Girl Run started in Columbia in 2012. The Columbia-based business Ultramax Sports, which also has stores in Springfield and Kansas City, organizes the race designed to promote women's health while helping charities.

The Go Girl Run is expected to draw a little more than 1,500 participants, close to the same amount the event drew last year.

"When you have a high-profile run like this, it puts Columbia on the map as a good place to visit," said Megan McConachie, Web and communications manager at the tourism bureau.

The $9,750 in funding, recently approved by the City Council, will go toward using a part of the MKT Trail for the race, funding a direct mail marketing campaign and assisting half of the race's cash incentive awards, McConachie said.

The portion of the MKT Trail that will be used is from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden on Stadium Boulevard to the access point at Scott Boulevard, Parks and Recreations Department spokeswoman Tammy Miller said. The trail will remain open to the public.

A portion of each registration fee goes to three different charities: The Children's Miracle Network, The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri and the Susan G. Komen Mid-Missouri Affiliate, James Krajsa of Ultramax Sports said. The race is also sponsored by the Women and Children's Hospital.

It is also one of four races across the region that are a part of the 2014 Go Girl Run Series. Other races are planned for Springfield, Kansas City and Oklahoma City. The Columbia race will take place on May 24.

The money was set aside through the tourism development program's sports development fund. The Convention and Visitors Bureau also received approval for providing $10,000 for the 2014 Special Olympics Missouri Summer Games.

The money for the Special Olympics, which will be held from May 30 to June 1, will go toward printing guides, maps, posters and banners along with the Opening Ceremony entertainment, McConachie said. The amount is the same as last year.

The Summer Games are expected to draw 3,000 athletes and 2,000 fans. It brings in people from around the state with events taking place at MU,  Columbia College, Hickman High School and the AMF Bowling Center, according to a memo from the tourism board.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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