Bethel House’s Bev Bonge-Ganser, Kristy Weinberg and Nicole Llemuskevitsch accept a $4,200 check from Generac’s Maria Tello as part of the Discover Whitewater Series donation distribution. See more photos in the Nov. 12 Register. (Submitted photo)

The Discover Whitewater Series recently donated $21,000 through funds raised at its annual event to five local charities,.

The DWS: Half Marathon and 5K, which held its race on Sunday, Sept. 20, faced new challenges in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To keep the safety of all runners and volunteers in mind, participation was limited to 300 runners and social distancing was required during the whole event. Despite this change, the DWS was able to raise $21,000 to donate to charity this year. In the past eight years, the DWS has been able to donate $204,500 to its charity partners.

The DWS partners with five local charities: Working for Whitewater’s Wellness, Bethel House, Whitewater Unified School District, Whitewater LEADS and J-Hawk Aquatic Club. The $21,000 was split up between these charities and each was given $4,200.

“We are so excited to be able to give so much back to the Whitewater community,” DWS Executive Director Jeffery Knight said. “Despite all of the challenges of this year, we are happy to continue to support the local community. We couldn’t have done it without all the support from our wonderful sponsors.”

In the past, the DWS hosted a banquet celebrating the race, our sponsors, and our charity partners.

Traditionally, each donation to our charity partners is presented at the banquet. This year, the checks were presented outside while following social distancing guidelines.

Each year, the DWS team looks for ways to improve our event, with the end goal being to put on a fun, athletic event and to benefit the Whitewater community. To monitor feedback of the event, a post-race survey is sent out to all participants. The purpose of the survey was to give race participants the opportunity to express their opinions of their overall race day experience.

In the 2020 DWS, 54 percent of the runners had participated in past DWS races. In the survey, 100 percent of all returning and first-time runners expressed that they felt “satisfied to extremely satisfied” with the race, and 98 percent of respondents also said they would recommend the DWS to friends and family.

Out of all the changes from this year’s DWS, one of the most popular updates has been the addition of drive-through packet pickup, where participants were able to social distance and not get out of their cars.

No matter how 2021 looks, this is one change the DWS team will likely be keeping.

Another big hit was our new race course. Participants could experience more of the City of Whitewater while still participating in a challenging and fun race.


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