It’s August, and while it may feel more like Hades outside than the Middle South, that little detail won’t deter dedicated runners and walkers from participating in the largest road race in Fayetteville, the American Red Cross “Run for the Red” 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run on Saturday, August 14.
Billed as “The Hottest Race in the South” –– literally and figuratively this year–– the annual event kicks off at 7 a.m. at 101 Robeson Street, giving runners a head start on the heat.
“This is the fourth year of the race,” said Tracey Kohut, Program Assistant for the Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC), which serves Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Sampson Counties. “The 5K is the North Carolina State Championship race for the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). It is something that is done across the United States with the ARC. It is a major fundraiser for the ARC, and the neatest thing is that not only does it include a state championship race, but there’s also a cash purse for the top three males and females in the 5K and 10K races.”
And those who wish to participate in the event, but don’t want to run in the 5K and 10K races, won’t feel left out in the…heat.
“A lot of people don’t necessarily do the running thing,” Kohut said, “so we incorporated it so that it can be a family-fun event, and we’ve got that one-mile walk. That’s pretty awesome.”
Strollers, kids’ wagons and dogs on leashes are also welcome.
Money raised from the race will help ensure the ARC is able to support members of the community served by the Highlands Chapter in times of need. And the community is an important contributing factor to the success of the race.
“The community has jumped in. Our sponsors are making this possible,” said Kohut. “They’re supplying water for the runners. They’re supplying snacks for the runners. It’s a community-wide event where everybody gets involved.
“I have to tell you what a lot of people don’t know. Everybody thinks that the ARC is a government agency, so therefore everybody thinks that the ARC has a lot of money. What folks don’t realize is that we are able to do what we do only because of donations from individuals, corporations and businesses. And all of the money that we raise from this race is going to stay in our local community to fund our disaster services, to fund our health and safety services –– we taught over 10,000 people CPR last year –– and our Services to Armed Forces (SAF). Here in Fayetteville, this chapter actually initiates emergency messaging to give to service members when there is something going on in the family. We actually start that messaging so that families and service members can be reunited in a time of need. That’s what our donations actually pay for.”
Participation in the race has steadily climbed each year, and Kohut hopes to see it reach a new benchmark.
“The first year it started out, it was just several hundred people, and of course, last year was year number three, and it was at 1200, and I’m thinking well, come on, we can get 1500!”
Participants may register online, by mail or by dropping off a completed form at the Highlands ARC offi ce. Online registration ends on Wednesday, August 11. On-site registration may be available if the event is not full, but runners and walkers are encouraged to register online. Registration fees for individuals for the 10K, 5K and 1-Mile fun run are $35, $30 and $5, respectively.
“The runners for the 5K and 10K will receive a tee shirt with the sponsors listed on the back,” Kohut said. “If they are going to walk, they have the opportunity to purchase a T-shirt.”
The races also feature staggered start times. The 10K begins at 7 a.m., the 5K at 8:30 a.m. and the 1-Mile at 9 a.m. For those who come out, yes, it will probably be hot, and yes, you will sweat, but you will also be making a difference for our community.
“It’s a morning run,” said Kohut. “Awards will be scheduled at 10 a.m., so hopefully by the heat of the day, everybody’s going to be basking in their glory of what a great job they did. Everybody come on out. Please come out and make a difference.”
For more information or to volunteer, visit www.highlandsarc.org/ or call 910-867-8151.