Every Labor Day weekend more than 4500 participants descend onto a closed major interstate in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, for the Around the Crown 10K presented by Truist (ATC10K). But this event is about much more than just a race.
Participants not only get to run the race, but they also can experience programs such as a Pay What You Can entry fee, the Feetures First Timers Club and competing in the stroller division at the race.
“Around the Crown 10K presented by Truist is not your traditional running race — our goal is to work towards having our Start Line look like our community,” shares Brian Mister, race director of the ATC10K. “That means diversity in ability, age, race, gender, speed and even the way the participant came to running and why they chose this event.
“We want to ensure our participants are celebrated, that our sponsors are not only making our event better but the planet, too, and that all of our partners throughout the year are part of the initiatives we define as our core pillars: accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability,” he adds.
In collaboration with charity beneficiary RunningWorks and sponsors including Truist, Brooks Running, Feetures and Recover Brands, ATC10K executes year-round programming to increase participation in running and education on sustainability practices from the house to the finish line. ATC10K also collaborates with run specialty retailers Charlotte Running Company (a 2021 Best Running Store) and running clubs like Front Runners and Mad Miles Run Club to host group runs/walks mixed with educational components.
ATC10K operates on the three key pillars of accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability and the organizers construct a year-long calendar, expo and race around them.
ATC10K and its sponsors make it a priority to make running accessible to everyone in their community through these key programs:
- Feetures First Timers Club: In collaboration with Forward Motion CLT, a certified running coach prepares a 10-week training plan for participants who are new to running and encourages them every step of the way for a deeply discounted rate of $20, which includes both the race entry and the training.
- Pay What You Can entry fee: Truist, ATC10K’s presenting sponsor, wants to ensure participants aren’t prohibited from participating due to finances, so participants can register for the race and pay what fits their budget (all participant info is kept confidential).
- Strollers: Have kids? No problem. ATC10K invites those who need or want to bring their kiddo(s) along for the ride and they get a five-minute head start to have the space needed. The event also invites racers in wheelchairs to join the fun.
Through its year-round programming to engage with the community the race where the race is held, ATC10K works diligently to make its start line look like its community through these initiatives:
- Truist Training Tours: ATC10K activates and partners with groups like Mad Miles Run Club and Front Runners to host training runs/walks in their respective community or neighborhood to increase participation and decrease intimidation.
- Supporting HBCU initiatives: Collaborating with Mad Miles Run Club and Charlotte Sports Foundation, ATC10K helps to offer a HBCU Pride Run the day before the race in conjunction with other educational activities and initiatives.
- Blind/Visually impaired runners: Through a relationship with Paraguide, ATC10K helps visually impaired runners with guides have a safe and enjoyable run.
- Transportation to/from the event: ATC10K is held in uptown Charlotte and is on metro and bus lines and offers ample parking from sponsors such as Subaru as well as promotes commuting via foot or bicycle.
ATC10K prides itself on being one of the most sustainable running events in the country and is continuously seeking new ways to reduce carbon footprints from the race, participants, spectators and sponsors.
- Half-size bibs: Tyvek, the product that race bibs are made of, is not easily recyclable, so ATC10K decided to cut the waste in half by cutting its bib size in half (all the important information including sponsor logos are still highly visible).
- Cup-less: By partnering with Hiccup, a reusable silicone cup, ATC10K replaces paper cups at all of the water stops, diverting more than 8000 pieces of waste from the landfill.
- Earth Day is celebrated year round: Through partnership with one of its charity beneficiaries, Carolina Farm Trust, ATC10K kicked off Earth Day with a plogging event and continued it through race day.
- Low Impact Alliance (LIA): ATC10K is a founding partner of the LIA. Through that partnership, ATC10K stays abreast of sustainability trends in the run industry and helps to shape policy and other practices coming from industry thought leaders.
- Sponsor selection: ATC10K selects a highly targeted and select group of sponsors who share the same values and vision as the event.
- Donate to charity in lieu of your medal: Participants have the option to forgo their medal in exchange for a donation to one of ATC10K’s charity beneficiaries (and it reduces extra waste from creation to shipping).
To learn more about Around the Crown 10K presented by Truist, visit aroundthecrown10k.com.