WINNSBORO — Early morning showers and rain in the forecast could not dampen the enthusiasm of area runners and walkers as they took to the streets in Winnsboro last Saturday in support of Fairfield Behavioral Health Services.
The annual 5K run walk raised awareness of the dangers caused by alcohol addiction. This year before the event began a torch was lit in honor of anyone who had lost a friend or loved one due to alcohol.
Becky Boulware lost 81 pounds and agreed on a challenge from her son, Andrew, who recently entered the Navy that she would run her first 5K race.
“He actually challenged me to run marathons,” she said. “When I started, I could not bend over to tie my shoes but now I can run up to three miles at a time at the Chester YMCA.”
Willie Benson and Betty Rabon from Winnsboro said they walked to show community support in general, as did newcomer Eugene Holmes.
Sisters Coleman Blackwelder and Mary Swearingen have been running since high school. Coleman loves to listen to music when she runs and her sister said they especially like the challenge of running up hills around town.
Event emcee Demetruis Davis, head football coach at Fairfield Central High School, had some of his players participated in the event, although they were not eligible for awards for top times. Davis shared some jokes with the crowd before getting to serious business of telling sobering facts related to alcohol addiction, a disease with no cure.
Alcohol is the third leading lifestyle related cause of death in the United States, he said, and over 40 percent of hospital beds used to treat people at any given time are treating conditions related to alcohol abuse.
He also shared the statistic that 63 percent of youth said they received alcohol from their parents’ homes or their friends’ homes. That nationwide trend is one that puts youth at risk and is one reason that he, as a coach, felt the need to become involved in this community health issue.
Participants either did a 3.1 mile run or a 1.8 mile walk. Of the 191 walkers registered, 135 competed while 40 of the 51 registered runners participated. Top walkers were Tyler Simmons and Josetta Canty.
Age 2-12: Jordan Coleman and Abigail Shaw
Age 13-19: Todd Mattox and Hannah Silvia
Age 20-29: Nick Gladden and Mary Swearingen
Age 30-39: were George Hartrick and Catie Brigman
Age 40-49: Damian Marmocejo and Margie Saville
Age 50-59: Danny Senn and Capri Lewis;
Age 60-98: Elijah Squirewell, Rocky Soderberg and Harold Alexander.
Top 5K walkers
Age 2-12: Arlinzia Boyd
Age 13-19: Tyvon Simmons and Kenious Boyles
Age 20-29: Willie Young and Zekeriah Bouknight
Age 30-39: Uylsses Edmonds and Tracey Williams
Age 40-49:Jeffrey Davis and Mary Hemphill
Age 50-59: Anthony Hall and Margie Elgin
Age 60-98: James Qualls, Sammie Qualls, Willie Benson, Jeanette Williams, Addell Pauling and Intisar Ashraf
For more photos of the 5K run/walk, including trophy presentations, click the photos icon at www.heraldindependent.com. Complete results and race times can be found at www.strictlyrunning.com/results/13imagine.txt.