On April 5, about 300 runners and walkers are expected to participate in the North Carolina Azalea Festival 5k/10k and 1-mile fun walk.
All proceeds from the annual event will benefit the Cape Fear Volunteer Center’s Big Buddy Program, a nonprofit that matches at-risk youth with positive role models.
Annie Anthony, CFVC executive director and 5k chairwoman, said the Big Buddy Program provides one-on-one mentoring for at-risk youth ages 5-16. The volunteers work with participants for two hours per week for at least one year.
Bill Ouzer, office manager for CFVC, said the proceeds will help the Big Buddy Program fund both educational and fun events and field trips for all of the buddies.
“The Big Buddy Program sponsors an activity once a month for big and little buddies to go to,” Ouzer said. “Last month, they went to Fort Fisher for a science day. … The month before that, they went to a basketball game at [Cape Fear Community College].”
The last day of online registration is April 3, but those who wish to attend can still register on the day of the race between 6:30–7:30 a.m. Registration fee is $35.
The event will hold three different races: 5k, 10k and the fun walk, a noncompetitive alternative.
“There are some people that want to do a little exercise but they don’t want to race,” Ouzer said. “[The fun walk] gives them an opportunity to get a little exercise and enjoy the morning.”
After the race, the event will have prizes for the top three men and women for both the 5k and 10k.
“We’re one of the only races that give cash prizes for the top females and top males,” Anthony said.
The winner of last year’s 5k race was University of North Carolina Wilmington senior Morgan Osborne, who received the cash prize.
Osborne said she decided to run because of her support of the Big Buddy Program.
“I’m a big supporter of the Big Buddy Program,” Osborne said. “I love running, too. [The 2013 race] was a great cause and a fun race.”
The race allows both leashed dogs and jogging strollers. The event also encourages costumes.
“Some people get festive,” Osborne said. “It was early on Saturday. Weather was great. Good turnout. I had a fun time for sure. And [there was]food afterwards.”
The event will take place Saturday, April 5, at TrySports Field at Mayfaire Town Center.