By Sarah Plummer
More than 500 people came out to celebrate healthy bodies and a healthy earth Sunday at Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority’s second annual “It’s Your World” Earth Day 10K/5K Race and Festival at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley.
George Barbara, director of races for the event, said the group had a wonderful turnout with many more runners than last year.
In all, 40 individuals finished the 10K race and 106 finished the 5K, he said.
The winner of both races was Jason Pyles, a former collegiate runner from Charleston.
Barbara said Pyles clocked 33.40 in the 10K only to turn around and clock 17.15 in the 5K.
The female winner in the 10K was Jamie Allenbaugh with a time of 45.02, and Emily Fedders won the 5K with a time of 22.04, he said.
One of the most exciting aspects of the day was having more than 90 elementary students show up for the Concord University Cross Country Fun Run, he said.
With the most students participating, Hollywood Elementary took home the 5-foot-tall Concord University Cross Country Trophy, said Sherrie Hunter, director of education for Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority.
“We were so glad to have great participation in the new race and to help encourage healthy lifestyles for our younger generations. With the traveling trophy, we hope more students will come out to run in the years to come to try to win this trophy for their school,” she said.
Kindergarten and first-grade students ran one lap around one of the YMCA fields, second- and third-graders ran half a mile, and fourth- and fifth-graders ran nearly three-quarters of a mile, she said.
Tai Richardson, from Bradley Elementary, and Makayla Meadows, from Shady Spring Elementary, were fifth-grade winners in their race division.
“It was a great experience to see the elementary runners,” added Barbara. “The youngest runners were hilarious. They had a great time and it was fun for everyone to watch.”
Hunter added that the biggest compliment she heard after the race was about safety.
“When runners come up to you and say they feel safe, it is a huge compliment. We thank Beckley Police Department, our flaggers and all our volunteers who set up cones and helped prepare to make the race safe for our runners,” she said.
“When I see how many volunteers and organizations this event brings together, I know that it is the collaboration of so many entities that make this Earth Day Race and Festival sustainable for years and years to come,” she said.
Some of those involved in the event were Susan Richmond, WVU Extension agent; Lori Pace, Concord University professor; Thomas Treadway, race T-shirt designer; Jay Cantley, L.A. Gates Company; Jeremiah Johnson and Sam’s Club; J.K. Allen and his BINGO-playing cows; and Daniel Foley of Foley Orthodontics and L.A. East Beckley Crossfit who generously donated the race prize.
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