NATICK - The town is still searching for runners interested in a number for the Boston Marathon who are willing to raise $2,500 for local charities.
Natick has five runner bibs left, which officials say is surprising after registration for the race sold out in record time last fall.
"We're really surprised that these haven't gone faster, because especially this year, the right to have a number to run, it is a hot commodity," Town Administrator Martha White said. "People should contact us as soon as possible so they'll have the best opportunity to train, and if they're interested they can get one of these few remaining permits."
White said the town's late jump on offering the bibs is likely behind the lagging interest. Natick finalized its plan to distribute the bibs in mid-January.
"It was a lot of pieces to put together in a tight time frame," White said.
The town was one of four along the race route to receive 20 bibs from the sponsor, the Boston Athletic Association, along with Framingham, Ashland and Wellesley. The sponsor previously gave bibs directly to fire and police departments along the route, but this year they were distributed to town managers and administrators.
Natick divided its permits between its fire and police departments and then made eight available for charity runners willing to give a minimum donation of $2,500 to either Moving Wall Natick or the Healthy Pantry Initiative.
The former will bring a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to the Natick High soccer field on West Street from June 9 to June 12.
The latter is a collaboration between the Natick Service Council and Natick Community Organic Farm.
In Ashland, the town worked with a resident to distribute the 20 bibs to active runners. Runners will donate at least $2,500 to special town programs and social services, according to the town's website. In Framingham, the town split bibs among the fire and police departments, and then each of the five selectmen and the town manager gave bibs to runners raising money for local charities.
Wellesley gave four bibs to Children's Hospital in Boston and six to town employees interested in running. It opened the remaining 10 to the public, seeking $2,500 in donations for the Fund for Wellesley, a local charity that offers grants and funds programs for the community.
Chris Ketchen, deputy director of general government, said Wellesley set its program in motion in early January. It had one permit left after a runner dropped out and is concerned about the time left for potential runners to train.
"Running the Marathon is big commitment, in terms of the training that's involved," Ketchen said. "Next year, we'll have enough lead time to get the word out faster."