Jay Milton, founder of the Boerne .5k “race”, has one heck of a sense of humor. Certainly not a competitive runner, Milton founded the race to raise money for a local charity. In doing so, the event went globally viral, and this year’s event sold out in just over 30 minutes.
Billed as “The World’s Most Important Race in the History of the World, EVER” the Boerne .5k is a tongue-in-cheek event that will not only lampoon the typical 5k, but also those made-for-overachievers-obstacle-course-adventure-races, and has amassed quite the following of underachievers that want to participate and to help our a local charity at the same time..
When asked where the idea came from, Milton is fast to respond: “It started like ever great idea in history – it was stolen!”
He continues, “I have some good friends in Monument, CO and we’re very close and she sent me a link to a bar that was hosting a .5K that were raising money for an animal shelter. She said “Isn’t this hysterical?” and they were doing some giveaways, and making these pretentious stickers, and they were doing coffee and donuts, and well, I like beer so it just got me thinking.”
So with a fun idea in his head, Milton assembled a small team and got to work. He continues, “I’ve always wanted to do something for a local charity so I just kept thinking about it in Jan of 18 last year and wanted to raise some money. The .5k popped into my head, and I called Paul Barwick and Kristy Watson and said “If I try to pull this off, would you help me?” and then I added Ben Meyer and a few others, and we just dove into it. We wanted 100 people and to raise $2500 bucks. Very modest goals. We had a few meetings over beers, and that was it.”
While Milton and his team had some modest goals, they were about to learn about the power of “exposure” and the event would be catapulted into a national conversation. Milton explains, “What happened next was way crazy. I announced the race on the website and via social media in March of ‘18. 3 weeks later it filled up and that was just through local people that thought it would be fun. Mission accomplished. But then it went insane. When that Southwest Airlines jet almost crashed – the pilot that landed that is a pilot from Fair Oaks and was an interesting story. A Good Morning America producer called City Hall and said they were going to do a story on her, and they wanted some info on Boerne. They found a link to our flyer on the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau site, and they thought it was funny, so they did a story. We didn’t know they were going to do it, but they did. It blew up and we were already sold out. The website exploded and we had nothing to give them, so my wife suggested that we sell them the T-shirt, medal, and sticker and call it the “Procrastinator’s Prize Pack” and we could still get the donations. So we sold 1000 of those to people all over the world.”
The event was then picked up by ESPN, Newsweek, NPR, The Washington Post and countless other media outlets. After the buzz, after the event, after the unbelievable donations, the event had generated just over $30,000 for Blessings in a Backpack, a local chapter that serves children that are on a free or reduced lunch plan within BISD. Milton explains, “Blessings in a Backpack are a national organization with local chapters and they serve the kids in BISD that are on free/reduced lunch and they put food in a plastic bag, they get together at St Peter’s Church every Thursday and they pack 400+ sack lunches for the kid to eat over the weekend. Then they take the bags to the individual schools, and the teachers tuck them in the kid’s backpack when all the kids are out of the room so that nobody sees who is getting them. It’s 100% volunteer operated with $0 in overhead.”
This year’s race was just recently opened for registrations, and all 500 participant opportunities sold out in 37 minutes. Milton then sold “The Virtual Participant” tickets where a few friends are going to strap cameras to their heads and live-stream the race to Facebook was sold to right at 1000 people. There’s over 350 people on the waiting list to participate, and sponsorships grew to approximately $16,000. This year’s event is set to exceed the group’s goals yet again and provide substantial sums for Blessings in a Backpack.
Milton ends, “This thing has some legs. We love helping our neighbors, and it’s extremely rewarding for me. We’re going to do a peanut butter drive along with everything to also help Blessings in a Backpack. I want it to be a thing that the community looks forward to annually…for it to be a point of pride for the City.”
For more information about this event visit