By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — In 2010, 68 people trotted around the Shikellamy State Park in the first Ta Ta Trot.
With little publicity about the event, organizer Julie Rockey knew once people began to hear about the now annual 5K run that they would register in droves.
Rockey, of Northumberland, was correct.
Three years later, nearly 2,000 are expected to be running on the streets of Sunbury on July 13.
“I am so proud of what we have done here,” Rockey said. “This has become a great success for us.”
In 2010, the event raised $3,300 for Geisinger Health System’s Marie Lamey Fund and Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Awareness.
Rockey became hungry to build on that dollar amount and started what she described as a “full-time job.” “But it’s a fun one,” she said.
The Ta Ta Trot raised more than $43,000 in 2012, 147 percent more than it did in 2011.
Attendance for the 2013 race has reached 1,700, and that number continues to grow daily, Rockey said.
“We decided to put some wood boards across the Valley to advertise the event, and we have a huge Facebook presence, so this is just great,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
The Ta Ta Trot has become the second largest race in the Valley, just slightly behind the Run for the Diamonds Thanksgiving Day race in Berwick, Rockey said. This year’s participation could surpass the Run for the Diamonds, which had more than 1,700 entrants last November.
The Ta Ta race will begin by heading south on Fourth Street, making a left at Jefferson Street, then turning right on to North Fifth Street, left on Packer Street, left on to North Sixth Street, left on to Memorial Drive and on to Mile Post Road, where runners will turn around at Renns Road, then make a right on to Shikellamy Avenue and on to North Fourth Street to cross the finish line.
“Sunbury will be busy next Saturday,” Rockey said. “I’m so excited about how this year is going.”
The excitement comes on the heels of another successful Fourth of July 5K race in Mifflinburg, where 782 runners hit the streets on Thursday, more than 100 more participants than the year before.
“We wonder how it can possibly get any bigger, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we have 1,000 runners before long,” Mifflinburg Mayor David Cooney said.
Back in Sunbury, Rockey is getting set for next week.
“I am just so happy and thankful for everyone that is involved,” she said. “We are excited for Saturday.”
For information on the Ta Ta Trot, to sponsor the event or to register, call (570) 214-5066 or visit online at www.tatatrot.com.