The Erie Downtown Partnership is partnering with local long-distance runner, Pat Fleming, to raise funds to support downtown’s small business community through the first Frozen 50: Go the Mile for Main Street run.
On Saturday, March 6th Pat Fleming will be running from the Ohio to New York state lines to bring more awareness to the struggles of small businesses and help with the Erie Downtown Partnership’s Main Street Relief + Recovery Plan.
Fleming, 29, who has worked in the City of Erie Streets Department since 2009, has an affinity for downtown and was wanting to help the downtown he helps take care of.
Fleming explains, “With everything going on, including not having any races to run this year, I still wanted to continue training and thought I could find a new reason to train with a new goal insight.”
Fleming has been training since the end of January and runs between 50-60 miles per week. The distance he’ll run March 6th is 46 miles from border to border, but he will be doing another four laps running up and down State Street, which is almost halfway between the borders, to get a full 50 miles in on run day.
Fleming will start his run at 5:30 AM and estimates it will take about 8 hours to complete the 50 miles. “The biggest challenge for me will be weather and wind conditions.”
Fleming was introduced to the Erie Downtown Partnership through a City employee who suggested they see if a collaboration could benefit downtown. The partnership was already exploring another crowd funding campaign after the success of their gift certificate flash sale for Small Business Saturday.
“For me there’s just something about running through the city. You really get to take in everything the city has to offer in a way you could never experience from the seat of a car”, says Fleming.
The partnership is excited to collaborate with Fleming to help small businesses in the partnership’s footprint.
Emily Fetcko, Assistant Director and Main Street Manager, says, “We’re going to open up a second round of micro grants to downtown small businesses, and get those funds out the door to them by the end of March. The more funds raised the more businesses can be helped.”
The partnership earmarked $55,000 in microgrants to small businesses last summer and hopes to be able to assist several more small businesses in the first quarter of 2021.
“We know that many businesses, particularly in the retail and restaurant sector, experience decreased sales during the first quarter. This year will be harder for most, coming off of a dismal 2020.”
Donations can be made to the Frozen 50: Go the Mile for Main Street campaign now through March 13th online at https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/PA/Erie/Frozen50 or by visiting the homepage of www.eriedwontown.com.
Updates on Fleming’s run and the campaign are available on the Erie Downtown Partnership’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as on their web site at www.eriedowntown.com.
The Erie Downtown Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the downtown experience through marketing, advocacy, and placemaking.