Believe it or not but the kick-off to St. Patrick's Day and the countdown to spring's arrival in northeast Ohio starts this Saturday when over 3,500 St. Malachi Church Run participants begin their 5-mile trek through downtown Cleveland with a crossing of the Cuyahoga River over the Detroit-Superior Bridge! The race has deep roots with its start in 1980 when Fr. John Rehak, an associate pastor at St. Malachi Church in Cleveland, organized a run as a fund-raiser to support some of his ministry activities at St. Malachi.
What began as a small race has grown into a major running event with over 4,500 participants. Last year representatives from St. Malachi met with their run organizer to formalize what had been a handshake relationship and explore ways to make it more financially successful for the church and its ministries. Back of the napkin calculations had led St. Malachi officials to believe the $3,000.00 proceeds from an event that grossed at least $113,000.00 was out of whack and eventually they solicited other run management organizations.
What might have been a mutual and private parting of ways burst into the headlines when it was reported their former race management company was suing St. Malachi Church to prevent it from using its own name for the 5-mile race that's been held in the church's name for the last three decades. A social media tsunami of pro-St. Malachi sentiment and resulting bad press eventually convinced its former run management partner to drop their trademark lawsuit. It was a classic lesson in common sense "is this hill worth dying on?" corporate decision-making.
With Greater Cleveland XC onboard as their new race management company, the St. Malachi Church Run presented by Onix Networking believes it may make more than six times what they made last year. Those critical funds will go to serving the marginalized population of the near west side of Cleveland. For over 150 years St Malachi has been providing spiritual care and outreach to the community. Their small parish spends over $70,000 a year feeding, clothing and sheltering the poor through programs like the Monday Night Meal, the Back Door Ministry, Clothing Ministry while responding to urgent needs of neighborhood residents and through addiction education and recovery programs. The Church started and offers financial support to Malachi Center, Malachi House and it was a co-founder of Urban Community School. Additional information about the ministries can be found at http://www.stmalachi.org/ministries/.
This year's St. Malachi Church Run is a classic Cleveland tradition that features a festive morning filled with Mass, a 5-mile or a 2-mile race, and an after party celebration! Run participants can look forward to a fantastic course through downtown Cleveland, automated chip timing with live results, festive costuming, a Sole Clothing Co. vintage race t-shirt, Irish dancers along the route, a post-race awards ceremony and a complimentary beer at the after party at Mulberry's. Race day info and registration details here https://www.runstmalachi.com/. Be part of the countdown to St. Patrick's Day and spring while supporting our charity partner for the June 22 Burning River Ramble, St. Malachi Parish. a beloved Cleveland institution that provides services to Cleveland's neediest. See you Saturday morning!