The Merritt Country Run is ramping up its presence with a health expo at the Civic Centre the day before big races.

The expo will showcase over 30 local vendors, the majority of which relate to health and wellness.

“They’re local, independent, small businesses in town,” expo co-ordinator Melissa Bjarnason said, adding local yoga instructors, massage therapists, gyms, and even a jam-maker will be set up. There will also be a local artist on-site creating a painting, and a local musician to provide entertainment.

Other tables will have non-health-related information, including non-profit societies such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but the expo is a community event that aims to give race sponsors and other local organizations a chance to increase their visibility, Bjarnason said.

This is the first health expo and the fifth annual Merritt Country Run. The expo is open to the public, and is race package pickup for local participants.

The Country Run takes place on June 8 at 8 a.m. Voght Park. The run has 5k, 10k and half-marathon races.

The Merritt Country Run will also have a table set up where those interested in volunteering on race day can inquire. Those interested in participating in the event can also sign up until the morning of the race on Sunday.

So far, over 300 people have signed up to participate in this year’s Merritt Country Run.

Bjarnason said race organizers are encouraging participants to dress up on race day.

Proceeds from the Merritt Country Run benefit the local chapter of Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program, which helps children participate in organized sports where they would otherwise be financially unable.

Last year’s run raised $2,500 for Jumpstart.

The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Civic Centre.