| Debbie Gardner
WILBRAHAM – It’s almost time to lace up your sneakers for the 4th annual Margolis Miles for Music 5K, a fundraiser race supporting the music programs in the middle schools in Wilbraham and Hampden, East Longmeadow, Monson and Ludlow.
This year’s race is slated for Oct. 7 on what race founder and Wilbraham-based orthodontist Dr. Michael Margolis called “a very easy, flat course in the center of town.” Miles for Music is a timed run, but walkers are also welcome and Margolis said a lot of families take part every year. Entry fee is $20 per participant in advance, with a $25 per participant same-day registration from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Wilbraham Commons. The race steps off at 9 a.m. rain or shine. All registered runners and walkers get a race t-shirt. Race applications are available online at http://margolismilesformusic.blogspot.com/ or www.active.com/wilbraham-ma/running/distance-running-races/margolis-miles-for-music-5k-2018.
Despite the ease of the course, Miles for Music offers a $50 prize for the fastest male and female runner, the fastest male and female runner over the age of 50, and the fastest runner over the age of 17.
MaryLou Pierce, a hygienist at Margolis Orthodontics and the marketing person for the annual fundraiser, said last year “a little under 100” runners and walkers participated. “We’re hoping to hit 100 this year,” she added.
She said the 2017 Margolis Miles for Music raised nearly $6,000, which Margolis said was split among the middle schools in each town.
“I usually deliver the checks to the music departments and they are very appreciative,” Margolis told Reminder Publishing. “One hundred percent of the money collected goes to the schools. Any expenses are paid for by myself and the office.”
He added that business sponsors, such as Friendly’s, which donates ice cream and others that provide items for the silent auction or help out during the event, also help him raise funds for the schools and defray the cost of hosting. Race sponsorships at the $150 and $200 level are still available for this year’s 5K, and Margolis said interested businesses and individuals could call his office at 596-9657 for more information, or access a sponsorship form online at http://margolismilesformusic.blogspot.com/.
“We try to keep the [sponsorship level] low to encourage people to participate,” he said. “Everyone [who sponsors] gets their name on the race t-shirt and all the promotional materials.”
When asked why he decided to host the annual music fundraiser, Margolis said he was inspired in part by comments he overheard from the parents of his patients, many who are middle-school age.
“They were complaining about the funding cuts for music and the arts [in their schools],” he said. Around the time he started hearing these concerns, Margolis said he was also dabbling in music lessons himself, making a stab at picking up the guitar as an adult.
“I realized how hard it was [to learn] at my age,” he said. “And I realized, everyone who is good started young. Without enough money, kids can’t get a start [in music] early.
“I like music and I like to run, so I combined the two,” he said of how the race was born, adding that over the past four years the community has been “very supportive” of his efforts to help keep music in the middle schools.