EAGLE, Idaho — The Idaho Potato Commission’s Famous Idaho Potato Marathon has long raised money for the YMCA. This year, however, the race will also support children born with Down Syndrome.
A team from RODS Racing has registered for the IPC’s May 17 race. Members run races throughout the country to raise funding to help U.S. families cover fees to adopt foreign children born with the genetic disease.
For a second year, IPC has invested $50,000 in 2014 to be a major sponsor of RODS Racing, said IPC President and CEO Frank Muir. Muir said IPC’s contributions have enabled 11 foreign children born with Down Sydrome to find homes.
In many foreign countries, children who have Down Syndrome have a poor quality of life, often never leaving an institutional setting, according to the organization.
“We have learned from experience that the only thing standing in the way of these children being adopted is the financial burden that must be overcome for a family to adopt internationally,” the RODS Racing website reads.
Since IPC became involved in RODS Racing, Muir said, the organization has grown from 50 elite racers to 120 racers, who have committed to compete in more than 500 races this year. Each racer must commit to raising $1,000 for the cause. Muir said the racers wear the IPC logo on their jerseys and promote potatoes as an important part of a healthy diet.
“It’s a real inspiring cause to be involved in,” Muir said. “We’re really helping kids who can’t help themselves.”
RODS Racing will also bring its RV to the marathon, and staff will distribute information to runners and their families about the organization.
In its 36th year, Muir said the IPC’s marathon is among the longest running races in Idaho, drawing more than 3,000 participants. The marathon starts at Lucky Peak Reservoir in Boise and ends with a baked potato bar.
In addition to the 26.2-mile marathon, Muir said, the event includes a race for every skill level, including a 5K run and a walk.