I have been running in charity events for more than 13 years now and while I may not remember the races themselves, I do remember the cause.

After the recent KELOLAND news story asking, “How much of the money raised at fun runs actually gets to the featured charity?”, I thought I’d take a moment to share where your money goes by participating in the Harrisburg Days Walk Run Race as well as some of the specific results of this year’s event. 

For the Walk Run Race, it’s important to know that 100 percent of your registration fees after the external expenses goes to our fundraising efforts.

From its very humble beginnings five years ago, the Walk Run Race has been planned, and organized by a small group of volunteers. From the very beginning, there have been no internal expenses. This year, the planning committee was made up of eight people from Harrisburg, Tea and Sioux Falls. They spent the entire year planning Harrisburg Days’ activities; finding sponsors, gathering donations, negotiating with local vendors to find the best pricing possible for items that had to be purchased, assembling the awesome bags of goodies, finding more than 60 race-day volunteers for the route and start/finish area, coordinating with local officials, promoting the event and a whole lot more. Organizers also managed to launch a first ever Community Wellness Program that was completely free.

While Harrisburg Days events are free of internal expenses, there are a few external expenses: the T-shirt, prizes, medals, route signage/markings, timing services, post event food and advertising. As the Walk Run Race continues to grow in activities and size, these external third-party expenses have also risen. However, as part of their tasks, the planning team works with each individual business to negotiate the best possible price for the service or product in order to give you an event that is entertaining, challenging, exciting and rewarding for all who participate and volunteer.

The Walk Run Race is organized, put on and staffed by volunteers and continues to donate all money raised (beyond external expenses) towards the Harrisburg Days Community Park Fund.

Take all that, put it together and you’ll see that the Walk Run Race formula is “Business & Organizations’ Sponsorships & Donations + Your Event Registration Fees & Donations – External Expenses = Direct Donation to the Harrisburg Days Foundation Park Fund”. 


The Harrisburg Days Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, has a number of goals and projects but its primary one is the realization of a new Central Park for Harrisburg further tying together the city’s neighborhoods. The donation provided by the Walk Run Race to the park fund has aided the Foundation in securing the land for the new park in just five years with the hope that it can build out all of the park features in the next 5 years! Learn more about the plans for the park by checking out the page Harrisburg Central Park.

2013: Another Successful Year!


Breakdown of what the 2013 Walk Run Race registration fee – Ninety-one cents of every dollar of your registration fees goes to the external expenses to conduct the event.

Now that this year’s event is complete, I’ve had the opportunity to review the breakout of final costs and compare it to the registration fees, donations and sponsorships. The chart at the right shows how your registration fee was used to pay this year’s expenses. Note the diagram shows just 9¢ of every dollar of your registration fee was committed to the park fund. What the chart doesn’t show is that over 30 area businesses and organizations more than tripled the amount that was brought in by the registration fees to support the run, the park fund and the entire Harrisburg Area Community.

Broken down, that means for the 91¢ out of each $1 of expenses your registration paid for, area businesses covered almost $2 in additional expenses through in-kind donations of product, time and reduced prices. This support by the area businesses helps ensure we can keep the overall registration prices as low as possible. (Remember we started out at an unbelievably low registration price of just $15 for any event this year). Then, on top of that, those same groups and businesses contributed additional cash funds directly to the park fund, further increasing the power and impact of your contribution.

Area Businesses & Organizations contributed more than $3 for every $1 that were paid in registration fees.

While some might not think that the 9¢ for every dollar registration fee is that much, but when we consider everything provided by area businesses and organizations AND your contributions through your race fees and personal donations, together, you all have made a great investment into the future of Harrisburg.

This doesn’t even take into account the countless hours of the more than 60 volunteers who came out on race day morning to help out with the event; standing, smiling and cheering everyone along in the rain.

To sum it all up, it takes everyone to make an event like ours successful. From volunteers to businesses, organizations, and participants, it’s a community effort that makes Harrisburg Days and the Walk Run Race not only incredibly fun but raises funds for a great cause that will provide everyone a place to gather and play for generations to come.

I really want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support of the Walk Run Race, Harrisburg Days Foundation and our goal of a new Central Community Park.

You all make me proud to be a part of this incredible community we call home!

Thank you again,

Tom Norstrom
Project Manager/Race Director