By Jackson Fuller
Wilmington Family YMCA will host the third of seven Y Coastal Carolina Run Series events when more than 1,400 runners from 18 counties compete in the OrthoWilmington 5k.
The annual race, scheduled for Saturday, May 17, will take place in the Glen Meade neighborhood beginning at 8 a.m.
Founded in Wilmington in the mid-2000s, the race has undergone several name changes. Regardless of its name, its purpose has remained the same: to provide scholarships to children who need assistance to participate in Girls on the Run and STRIDE, nonprofit organizations designed to get kids involved with running and fitness at a young age. Both organizations aim to provide kids with excellent character and confidence.
“This race is a huge fundraiser for Girls on the Run and STRIDE,” said Amber Rogers, Girls on the Run and STRIDE council director of Coastal Carolina. “All dollars generated from this event go directly to the children and those two organizations.”
Girls on the Run is made up of girls from third through eighth grade, while STRIDE consists of boys from third through fifth grade. Both programs are run through the YMCA.
Coaches Tim Taylor and Tim Shaughnessy started the Wrightsville Beach School STRIDE program during the 2012-13 school year when they saw the success of Girls on the Run. This will be the program’s second time participating in the OrthoWilmington 5k.
“It’s great because we can get these kids out here and physically active, but it’s important that we teach these kids valuable, healthy life lessons that help them build confidence for the future,” Taylor said.
The life lessons will be beneficial in the future, but for now these kids are here to run. All of the boys involved with the STRIDE program at Wrightsville Beach School agreed that getting outside and running is the highlight.
“My favorite part is the actual running,” said Tab Taylor, a fifth-grade student at Wrightsville Beach School. “I like feeling the pain because it means I’m getting better and it means I’m pushing myself.”
More than half of the runners participating in this race will be kids who are already involved with Girls on the Run and STRIDE. For both of these programs, this 5kwill be the culmination of their training this season and a celebratory event.
“I wouldn’t say last year was one of my best runs, but I did pretty good,” said Ethan Joyner, a fourth-grade student at Wrightsville Beach School. “This year I want to improve on my time just to show how much I’ve practiced.”
Online registration is currently closed, but hopeful participants can sign up on race day between 6:30-7:30 a.m. at First Baptist Activity Center on Independence Boulevard. Race day registration will cost $35.