Arising from a desire to draw people to downtown Clinton while offering a healthy excursion locally, a first-ever event of its kind here has sought to bring runners, joggers, walkers and the like downtown in order to kick off the annual Court Square Street Fair & Barbecue Cook-off festivities just a little bit earlier this year.
The inaugural Downtown Dash 5K & Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. Registration for the race is $15 and includes a T-shirt. The Fun Run is free.
The title sponsor is Huff Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine, but there are many others who have pitched in to offer their assistance. A groundswell of support has been received for bringing a 5K to Clinton, and many said they are happy to see those efforts come to fruition.
By aligning the event with the Street Fair, committee members hope the Downtown Dash will attract many.
“I have enjoyed working with the committee to create an event to draw more visitors to downtown. I hope we’ll get some participants who have been long-time fairgoers as well as some participants who will be visiting Clinton and our Street Fair for the first time,” said planner Audrey Whetten, a member of the Downtown Dash committee. “I have been happily overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support shown for this event — not only by the committee, but also by the sponsors, participants and volunteers.”
Online registration is available until Friday, Oct. 12 at tinyurl.com/clintondash. Race-day registration will take place in the Vance Street parking lot from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. The race route begins and ends in the newly completed parking lot on Vance Street, and passes through neighborhoods surrounding downtown, and extends by the new “Milling Around” art piece.
Fittingly, the Downtown Dash logo incorporates millstones to reflect the new art piece and reference the community’s agricultural heritage. Additionally, proceeds from the race will go to the Downtown Clinton Enhancement Fund, established by the committee to supplement the city’s efforts to improve downtown by providing additional amenities such as picnic tables, benches, historical markers for buildings and trash cans in key locations.
Whetten said the committee is glad to have the opportunity to work with the Street Fair Steering Committee to integrate the Downtown Dash into all the events happening that day.
The structure of Saturday’s race schedule allows visitors to participate in a wide variety of activities without missing anything. The race occurs in the morning, the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and Care Fair follow, and then the Street Fair and all its corresponding activities begin, she noted.
Others said the dash will only help contribute to the entire day’s festivities.
“I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our sponsors and the community for the first annual Downtown Dash 5K,” said committee member Alison Bradshaw. “Our goal is to bring people to downtown Clinton, and hosting the race on the morning of the Court Square Street Fair will give everyone the opportunity to stay downtown after the race and enjoy the festivities.”
“I am so excited to help bring a race like the Downtown Dash back to Clinton,” added Sarah Lane, also a member of the Downtown Dash committee. “There are so many people who have expressed their interest in trying a 5k, but are not interested in traveling out of town to do so. This is such a great opportunity for those folks and for our community in general. This is a race that everyone can do.”
Awards will be given for the first place overall finishers (male and female) and the first place finisher in each age group (male and female). Those awards, donated by Sessoms Jewelry, will be presented at 10 a.m. at the main stage in front of the Sampson County Courthouse on East Main Street.
Age groups include 14 and under; 15-18; 19-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; and 65 and over.
“The race will be fun,” said committee member Eric Nance, “and the good thing is that it’s for all types of fitness levels.”
“I love that Clinton is engaging in such a healthy endeavor,” Erika Starling added. “This 5k is an extension of the Wellness Center and the city’s excitement to become healthy. I couldn’t be happier to support the Downtown Dash.”
Also occurring that Saturday morning will be a Volksmarch, a 10k walk (or option of a 6k) through historic downtown Clinton and nearby neighborhoods, mostly on paved sidewalks.
Registration will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct, 13, at the tent on Main Street. The event is open to the public. Everyone is welcome and family participation is encouraged. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Every participant must complete a start card, which will be carried on the walk and checked at the checkpoint. All start cards remain the property of the Triangle Trailblazers and must be turned in at the finish point when the walk is completed. The event will be held rain or shine.
For more information on all events and activities taking place as part of the Court Square Street Fair, the event’s new website can now be visited at www.courtsquarestreetfair.com.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.