DAVIDSON – The 2013 Summit Twilight Racing Series got underway with the Leprechaun Loop 8K on March 16 in downtown Davidson. The event had over 700 entrants and helped Summit Coffee raise over $2,000 for Levine’s Children Hospital in Charlotte.

“We were thrilled with the success of the event, both in terms of the turn out, the execution of the event and ultimately how much we were able to raise for a great cause,” said Brian Helfrich, co-owner of Summit Coffee.

Helfrich said that the Leprechaun Loop had the biggest turnout for any race in the series, by more than 400 entrants, “so that is a huge jump for us and we are enthused and bullish on the future of the racing series.”

The main thing that separates the Summit Twilight Racing Series from other fundraising races is the additional social aspect that comes with having the race later in the day.

All the races in the series start in the evening and finish around sunset.

Helfrich said that starting the events in the evening and holding a post-race party is a not only way to extend their fundraising efforts, but is convenient for runners.

“I think there’s a gap in the racing community where there has been a missed opportunity,” Helfrich said. “Most runners run in the evening, so why wouldn’t you have a race in the evening?”

It’s also a way for runners to wind down their day and reward themselves with a beer or a bite to eat after a race.

“As opposed to morning races, where people run and get on with their weekends,” Helfrich said. “we want it to be a final destination for a day.”

The Summit sells beer, has food trucks and live music at the post-race parties.

The Charlotte-based band, The New Familiars, performed at the Leprechaun Loop 8K.

The fundraisers have Triple C Brewing as the official beer sponsor. Other sponsors include the Charlotte Running Company and Brooks Running. Local Davidson-based sponsors include J.J. Wade and Associates and Copeland, Cook and Richards Law firm.

Each race has a different charity that th´money is raised for. 

The next Summit Twilight Racing Series event is the Summit Solstice four-mile race on June 15. Instead of the traditional generic-road race, the Summit Solstice will be an obstacle challenge.

“Its not going to be like a Spartan race or one of the mud runs where you have to go through barb wire,” Helfrich said. “It’s going to be more urban adventures.”

Every half-mile or so, participants will face a different challenge on the course.

One of the ideas that Helfrich’s brother Tim, co-owner of Summit Coffee, has suggested so far is the 100-yard hopscotch.

That Summit Solstice race will benefit a charity called Nothing But Nets, an international organization that helps send bed nets to Africa to prevent the spread of malaria.

“One of the ways we are trying to get people more involved is to have them more active during the race itself,” said Helfrich. 

“If a business is interested in designing and sponsoring an obstacle in the race, they can email Helfrich at Brain@summitcoffee.com with their ideas.

“The community has supported us for 15 years and we try to find different ways to give back to them.” Helfrich said. “If we can raise a few thousand (dollars) for charities like Nothing But Nets, and also expose 500 or 1000 people to their cause, I think that is a win-win situation all around.”

Remaining 2013 Summit Twilight Racing Series events

June 8: Summit Solstice

September 14: Back-to-School 10K/5K/1-mile fun run

November 23: Twilight 5K benefiting Movember

Visit www.summitcoffee.com/racing-series for race results and more information about the Summit Twilight Racing Series.