MARQUETTE — Going for a run next Saturday could benefit more than just personal health.

The Mac County 5K Round Up on March 25 will raise funds for scholarships, awarded to students attending school in McPherson County and are pursuing an agriculture-related field.

“We’ve had a lot of students who have benefited from the scholarships come back to the community,” Burch said. “It’s going to be a beautiful day for the run, I just know it.”

The event will start at 8 a.m. March 25 and is for all ages. The route will cover the Pioneer Trail, Marquette city streets and county road.

Cost for the 5K Run/Walk is $30 and the 1-Mile Run/Walk is $25. Awards will be given to the three top females and three top males in the 5K run.

“Instead of medals, we’ll award runners with cuts of meat from different producers in the area,” Burch said.

The McPherson Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee has funded a $2,500 scholarship to a McPherson County high school senior who is pursing an agriculture-related field of study since 2000. The Agriculture Committee partners with Agriculture Future of America who provides matching funds for a significant scholarship award. The McPherson Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee has invested $55,000 in the continued education of agriculture to 22 students and awarded six students $1,000 Leadership Conference tuition.

This is the first year the committee has hosted a 5K. After a previous fundraisers lost their luster or were confined to too small a space, Burch is pleased to offer a new event that will engage the county as a whole.

“This is a way that we can move around to different communities and give people a chance to see each of these places on the route. We’ll be in a different community from year to year and it also builds awareness of the scholarship since it’s open county-wide,” Burch explained. “We’ve had some great leadership from Betsy Larson, who does this on a regular basis in marquette. She’s organized 5Ks before, so we’re very fortunate to have her guidance on this and we really appreciate her expertise.”

Of course, these investments from fundraisers only go so far.

In addition to raising cash for that year’s scholarship, an endowment fund was set up in 2003 by the McPherson County Community Foundation in order to maintain the scholarship into the future. Then endowment will need $50,000 to pay for the scholarship on an annual basis.

“With the 5K, we’re not only raising money for the scholarship we’ll award, but also, we want to build our endowment,” Burch explained. “That way, we won’t have to do continuous fundraising events.”

Hopefully, scholarships will turn into useful skills and information that students can later use to benefit their hometowns.

“We’ve seen that full circle, where students leave and then come home. Not everyone will, but we want to plant that seed,” Burch said. “For a lot of students who graduate from this county, when they’re thinking about starting a family, they tend to remember their good growing-up experience in this area and they want to pass that on to their children.”

Registrations can be picked up at the Chamber office, 306 N. Main or on the website of www.mcphersonchamber.org or for more information 620-241-3303.

For more information about the scholarship, visit http://agfuture.org.

Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at cderksen@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.