By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City’s 34th annual Redbud Classic will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10 in Nichols Hills. The weekend Classic continues its tradition of fitness, fun and philanthropy with activities for the entire family.
The 2016 Redbud Classic has multiple events starting with the 10, 33 and 50-mile bike tours on Saturday, April 9, as well as the popular one-mile children’s run.
On Sunday, April 10, events will include the 5K and 10K timed runs, the 5K-wheelchair event, the 2-mile walk and the baby stroller derby.
“Redbud is in its 34th year, making it the oldest race in Oklahoma City and all the proceeds go to a local non-profit,” said Patty Anthony, race director. “We have raised more than $500,000 over the years. We are excited that proceeds will benefit Peppers Ranch this year. Race participants are not only keeping themselves healthy but contributing to a valuable local charity.”
Each year, agencies apply to the Redbud Classic as potential beneficiaries. For 2016, the Redbud Classic Board of Directors has selected Peppers Ranch Foster Care Community in Guthrie.
Peppers Ranch goal is to “break the cycle” of child abuse and neglect through loving homes, counseling, and growth-oriented activities by creating a network of caring foster parents and adult mentors on whom children can depend. The organization is committed to providing a safe and secure environment where physical and emotional wounds can heal.
It also develops a plan for building hope for a successful future.
The Peppers Ranch website states that over 13,000 Oklahoma children are in the care of the state on any given day. Less than 50 percent leaving the system ever finish high school and 42 percent are homeless for at least one night within twelve months of exiting foster care.
Currently, 13 homes are located on 280 acres with 12 more planned over the next four years.
Staff and others from Peppers Ranch will be volunteering on race days.
“We are so honored to be Redbud’s beneficiary this year,” said Tonya Ratcliff, Peppers Ranch executive director. “Peppers Ranch is changing the face of Oklahoma Foster Care, and it takes time, money and talent to make our mission possible.
“Our fight for the greater good will not cease until every Oklahoma child has a safe place to call home, and a family equipped with love and resources to care for them,” Ratcliff added. “The finish line at Redbud is where hope begins for the foster care system, and it’s a race we are privileged to run.”
Following the races, the Redbud will include other family friendly festivities.
On Sunday, April 10 the second annual Redbud Bash will be held at 1 p.m. in the finish area of Nichols Hills Plaza. There will be a variety of food from some of Oklahoma’s premier food trucks, beverages from COOP Ale Works and other sponsors, free family-friendly games and activities, as well as live entertainment.
New this year, each race participant over the age of 21 will receive a free beer at the finish line, compliments of COOP Ale Works. An ID and bib tab must be shown to receive a beer bracelet. Additional beer will be available for purchase.
Registration is available in person or by mail at 6421 Avondale Drive, or online at redbud.org. By registering early and online, participants can receive their choice of t-shirt size as well as a timing tag.
Until April 4, early-bird registration fees are $30 for the run/walk events and $35 for the cycling tours, or $55 for both events.
The registration office, located on the north side of Nichols Hills Plaza, will be open Monday, April 4 – 8 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. Participants who register online or by mail can pick up race packets at the registration office during these hours.
On race day, packets can be picked up at the tent located at the Waterford Complex Building at 63rd and N. Penn.
For complete event details including start times, course maps, and registration information, visit www.redbud.org. To learn more contact Patty Anthony at 405-842-8295.