Getting back to civilian life can be hard for people who have been negatively involved with the law because of the prejudice toward ex-cons, according to Probation Auxiliary County of Kern board member Elaine Morre. Instead of labeling these people as criminals, thugs, delinquents or felons, PACK organizes a Fog Run every year to raise money for its array of rehabilitation programs.
The aim is to help juveniles and adults who are on or recently completed probation increase their chances of assimilating into society so they can have a chance at a successful life.
On Jan. 4, PACK will hold its 31st annual Fog Run at Lake Ming. People of all ages and athletic backgrounds are expected to participate in the family friendly race, rain or shine, with or without fog. Avid runners, or those interested in channeling their competitive spirit, can work toward placing in the top three of their respective gender and age groups to win a medal in the 5K or 10K race.
But helping out a good cause doesn’t have to be an excruciating workout. According to Moore, taking in the beautiful scenery would not take any longer than an average morning walk.
“If you were to walk it, maybe 45 minutes to do the 5K — it’s 3 miles or so,” she said.
Anyone not interested in participating in the race is welcome to cheer on the participants.
“Out on the course it’s a little bit difficult, but they can absolutely be at the start and finish line and cheer for them as they leave in the beginning and cheer for them as they come back,” Elaine said.
Though organizers are happy to see a lot of the same runners coming back each year, they are hoping to reach a wider audience by promoting the event on social media, television and radio. While the event attracted over 600 runners last year, only 30 to 40 people are signed up with just over a month until the race.
Money raised through registration fees and sponsor donations will benefit the Takeaway Tattoos program, scholarship fund and Bridges Academy art program. A portion of the proceeds will also go to the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.
“The population that we deal with, I think, typically has a stigma and we know that these kids and these adults have the opportunity to be successful members of the community and we want to do everything we can to increase that opportunity for them. We have had some significant success stories with the programs we provide,” Elaine said. “One girl in particular, who started on probation, we worked on her tattoos. She also benefited from the scholarship program and was going to Bakersfield College and graduated from there.”
Anyone interested in registering for the race in advance can do so online at www.runsignup.com/fogrun. Registration is $30 for the 5K or 10K and increases after Jan. 1. People may also register at Mechanics Bank at 2700 Mount Vernon Ave. on Jan. 2 and Sole 2 Soul on Jan. 3 from 4–7 p.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. ￼￼