|Kim Bachmeier was not yet a runner when she signed up to participate in the University of Texas Medical Branch inaugural Causeway Fund Run in 1996. She preferred race walking. That year was the first time a run had ever taken place on the Galveston Causeway. Since pedestrian travel over that thoroughfare is strictly prohibited, the first Causeway 5K was a major milestone for area runners. It was the first time they ever took Galveston’s only actual incline by foot.
For Bachmeier, it was the beginning of her life as a runner. “I had never participated in a race as a runner before,” she said. Now Bachmeier is the co-owner of downtown Galveston’s Fit Tri Run, a place she likes to think of as “the coffee shop of running stores — a community center where people of all ages, shapes, sizes and skill levels come together to train, learn and encourage one another to make a positive difference in our lives.”
She is also the chairwoman of the newly revived UTMB School of Health Professions Causeway Fund Run, scheduled for Saturday, March 2, starting at the Galveston County Daily News building, 8522 Teichman Road.
After a more than 15-year hiatus, the causeway run was reinstated when Betty Protas, dean of UTMB’s School of Health Professions, approached Bachmeier, an alumna of the school with a degree in occupational therapy, with the idea of collaborating on a fundraiser to raise money for School of Health Professions scholarships.
“It was an amazing experience to run across the causeway,” said Bachmeier, who not only graduated from UTMB’s School of Health Professions but worked at UTMB for many years as well — as a pediatric clinician, junior faculty member and president of the School of Health Professions alumni association.
“It became logistically more and more difficult to organize events involving the causeway beginning in the late 1990s because of the fees that were required,” said Bachmeier.
With recent changes however, the financial disincentives are now far less daunting, she said.
There is one other event that crosses the causeway — The Toughest 10K Galveston —a race that took place for the first time last fall.
But the UTMB School of Health Professions Causeway Fund Run was the first, and now it will take its rightful place back on the roster of new causeway races. Since that first run in 1996, the Galveston Causeway has been completely rebuilt and expanded, so those who ran it before will have a very different experience this time. Organizers are currently soliciting sponsorships and encouraging team registrations from organizations throughout the community.
The March 2 UTMB School of Health Professions Causeway Fund Run includes a kids’ 1K that begins at 7:45 a.m., a wheelchair 5K that begins at 8:05 a.m. and a 5K run/walk that begins at 8:15 a.m. Online preregistration information is available at http://shp.utmb.edu/fundrun/. The cost is $10 for the kids’ run and $25 for the 5K in advance and $20 for the kids’ run and $40 for the 5K on the day of the race. The course is certified. Preregistered 5K participants will be chip timed.
To prepare potential race participants, Bachmeier is leading a USA Fit Galveston program that begins Feb. 11 and runs for 12 weeks. This will be the fourth year Bachmeier has organized the spring training program, which meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at the UTMB Field House track at Second and Mechanic streets. The structured, progressive, interval-based program breaks into three different groups at each meeting — walkers, beginning runners and runners. The cost is $110 for new members and online registration is at https://reg.usafit.com/forms/form.php?fid=230. Last year, there were about 70 participants.
“We hope the USA Fit Galveston program will be a way for individual race participants and potential race teams to train together and build camaraderie before the event,” said Bachmeier.
For beginners who prefer to train on their own, Bachmeier also has a recommended couch to 5K training program posted online at http://www.fittrirun.com/beginners.html. For more information about any of these programs, call her at Fit Tri Run, 409-539-5150.
Current sponsors of the event include the Jamail Galveston Foundation; the UTMB Office of the Executive Vice President, Chief Business and Finance Officer; the UTMB Office of the President; the UTMB School of Nursing; the UTMB Sealy Center on Aging; Kempner Capital Management Inc.; Celia Bailey-Ochoa; Fit Tri Run; the Galveston County Daily News; Texas A&M University at Galveston; Galveston College; Minuteman Printing and Spring Action Photos.
Event planning committee members are Kim Bachmeier, Tino Gonzalez, Kevin Harrington, Nina Partin, Molly Dannenmaier, Mary Ellen Beaupre, Imelda Mendoza, Hank Thierry, Shena Pearson, Elizabeth Protas, Sheryl Green and Michelle Conley.
For more information, call the UTMB School of Health Professions Causeway Fund Run hotline at 409-772-3006.