However, for the second consecutive year, Nevada’s oldest brewery has sponsored the competitive trek, which will begin and end outside the doors of Great Basin Brewery in downtown Sparks. Last year the competition attracted the capacity number of 50 teams, prompting Race Director Gary Glogovac to open the field to 100 teams for the Oct. 12 fundraiser benefiting the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
The gun will fire in front of Great Basin Brewery at 8 a.m. and runners head east on Victorian Avenue, loop the Sparks Marina, take the Truckee River path to Glendale Park (exchange point 1), then to Rock Park (exchange point 2), then to Reno’s Idlewild Park (exchange point 3), then to the Patagonia Factory store where runners reverse and return to Great Basin.
“One of the revisions we have made this year, due to the SouthEast Connector Project, is the Marina loop, and it is a very popular place to run. That revision probably suits us well,” Glogovac said regarding course layout.
He added that designing the course and its accompanying map catered to advanced and novice runners, which led to new additions, such as a written narrative for the map and spray chalk arrows guiding runners. It also improved the placement of volunteers and course experts, who guide and oversee the race, ensuring the safety of the runners throughout the course.
“I think maybe the recruitment of new teams,” Glogovac said, when asked what constitutes success for the second annual event. “I think another success would be bringing in people from outside the area. I think at this point we bill ourselves as a community event. It starts and finishes in Sparks. It is an event that I believe has great potential, even if our signups are down from last year. It is a mini RTO (Reno-Tahoe Odyssey).”
While the Great Basin Brew Relay does not span the 178 miles the RTO does, Glogovac said it allows participants to see an extensive view of Sparks and Reno and caters to the ever-growing “appetite” for relay races and running events. The key ingredient, according to the longtime Washoe County School District educator, is the help of volunteers on race day.
“I think one of the things that makes us successful is our volunteer base,” he said. “The school district ROTC, McQueen High School in particular, has been a tremendous help for us. I need trained volunteers and experienced runners hold orientations for them to understand how to handle the course. Etiquette, safety and joy. That is what we need to have a great race.”
Glogovac, a Spanish Springs resident and graduate of Sparks High School and the University of Nevada, Reno, said he has enjoyed seeing the increased enthusiasm in the city for running events and fundraisers. He said the culture of competitive running, and running in general, has brought several changes throughout Sparks.
“This is symptomatic of a national, and probably international, appetite for running,” he said. “It is growing everywhere. I also think there is a proliferation of causes, charities and organizations who are becoming real interested in wedding their cause or need for resources with healthy lifestyles and activities. I think there is a human interest on an unparalleled scale.
“In Sparks, in particular, I have seen a real uptick and there is a broader-based interest in running. With that base, there needs to be some forum or avenue for these people to participate. I think the city and some of the businesses tend to be more ready, willing and able to support us.”
Glogovac cited new walking, running and biking paths as proof of the progress Sparks has made in the physically active community. He said relay-style races, like the Great Basin Brew Off, have “great potential” and he expects to see a continuous number of charity events using running as an attraction.
“I do agree that it is contagious,” Glogovac said, “So the more of us that are running or staging events for a range of causes the more people can participate.”
For more information or to register for the Great Basin Brew Relay on Oct. 12, visit www.greatbasinbrewingco.com.