The inaugural “408K Race to the Row” takes place this Sunday. The 8K race begins in downtown San Jose, snakes through the Rose Garden and finishes up at Santana Row.

JT Service and his first mate, Scott McConville, created the event to fill a void. Once upon a time, South Bay runners could participate in the Mercury News 10K and the Fujitsu 8K; but those events have disappeared. The loss of those races may be a stroke of luck for runners; the 408K website provides a glimpse into the personalities of the organizers—and if the race is anything like their upbeat and often humorous writing, this event will be a blast.

JT says, “I love to run and party.” While those may seem mutually exclusive to some, JT is pretty convincing. He even goes as far as to say, “Just come out and have a good time and then get a Bloody Mary after the race. (Bloody Marys not included.)”

It’s not all fun and games, though. The event will benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation, and in that sense it balances revelry, fitness, and community outreach. The whole event feels very organic and free spirited. There is no hidden agenda. As JT explains about choosing the Pat Tillman Foundation, “The guy was from San Jose, an incredible athlete, an even more amazing person who chose his own path, and I like the work his foundation does in his honor.”

That matter-of-fact explanation hints at a personality that can’t be bothered with protracted back-room deals. In a city that’s had its share of convoluted sporting events (do you remember our Grand Prix?), it’s a relief JT and his crew are here to help.

There’s also a great sense of community and support around the event. Participants post their progress on the 408K website. It’s very heartening to see the replies from the race organizers. For example, one post by a participant talked about their preparatory training, and the fact they had finished a 5-mile run. The 408K crew responded with, “You got this.”

In fact, everyone’s getting a personalized word of encouragement. That seems like a rare thing these days; hopefully, other organizers will recognize the attention to detail and follow suit.

Obviously, participants of the “408K Race to the Row”are in good hands. Runners will speed through some of the most charming and interesting parts of San Jose. The Counter will be handing out bowls of chili at the finish. Also, the winner will receive a giant medal, a la Flavor Flav’s clock necklace.

If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, you might want to check your pulse. There’s something about running in short-shorts, down the Alameda, with Bloody Marys and bowls of chili on your mind, which seems so absolutely “San Jose” that every citizen should embrace its essence.

All levels of runners will participate in the fun. As JT puts it, “In the end we just encourage our staff, our volunteers and especially our participants to enjoy themselves—our run on this earth is too short.”