Family, fireworks and running.
For the ninth straight year, the Valdosta 5K will be a staple in today’s Fourth of July festivities in town. But the race will have a new course when the runners line up at 7:30 a.m. in front of the American Legion Post 13 on Williams Street.
While there will be a new course — the race will cut across Patterson twice as it begins and ends by the American Legion — race director Todd Smoot is expecting another stellar turnout and run itself. Without counting race-day registration, which starts at 6:30 a.m. today, Smoot said there had been a strong pre-race push with more than 100 runners already registered.
All proceeds from the race go towards the Lowndes Veteran Council — primarily the American Legion — which has totaled $18,500 so far.
“With this year, we’re hoping to donate some more to them thanks to the support of the people in the community,” Smoot said. “You never can tell how many people will come and join us, but we did have one of our best pre-registrations we’ve ever had so far.”
And that support has come from near and far, and young and old. Smoot said pre-registration has included runners from mid to south Florida and Alabama as well as the Atlanta area. There are also runners from ages 6 to 75.
“There should be a good group of people, young and old,” he said. “We have a very good spectrum there, and we will recognize veterans and active military.”
Those runners will take off at 7:30 a.m. on the one-loop course with the first 25 male and female finishers receiving awards, including $50 for the top overall, master and veteran male and female finishers. That will follow a ceremony starting at 7:20 a.m. that includes a 75-year old marine leading the crowd in the pledge of allegiance as well as a member of the Lowndes cross country and track teams singing the national anthem.
Following the race, the American Legion will be serving a breakfast, with pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee and orange juice, for $3.
“It should be a bang up morning,” Smoot said.
Family, fireworks and running.
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