Children darted between adults as toddlers stared with open curiosity at the hubbub around them. Race director Bill Estes, community chair Coleman Foss and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation volunteer and CF parent Vanessa Hammond joined forces to regale the crowd from registration to the send-off.
“It went very, very well. It was great,” Hammond said several hours after the event. “We have lots of community teams, many CF family and friends teams.”
Many of the teams wore the same T-shirt. Most band together to support a particular individual who has CF. The teams are often from local businesses, friends and family.
Funds raised through the annual walk and run benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Hammond said the official goal this year is to raise $78,000. The final total will be announced at the annual thank-you luncheon on April 30. A preliminary race-day total listed $56,000 as the current amount.
Event organizers and volunteers plan to continue fundraising to reach the goal by the luncheon deadline.
An unexpected donation came from a group responsible for a lot of news recently. Run Now Relay team members showed up to launch minutes before the start of the 5K, and dropped off a check for the CF cause. The total was $2,600, symbolic of the 26 runners in the relay.
Hammond found out about the donation right before the check presentation.
“Someone hinted to me they were going to make a special presentation,” she said. “I had no idea they would have a big check like that. For them to donate $100 for each runner of the Run Now Relay for the 65 Roses 5K for CF is extraordinary.”
The top five teams for the Great Strides event are:
- Hammond Family and Friends at $3,975;
- Team Nathan at $3,865;
- Team Hannah at $2,930;
- Dalton’s Gang at $2,235;
- and Jon Wilson Memorial Team at $1,515.
The top five Striders of all the teams are:
- Will Hammond at $1,850;
- Vanessa Hammond at $1,700;
- Lesley Thomas at $1,110;
- Wendy Corder at $1,075;
- and Shibu Joseph at $1,005.
The event’s inclusion of both a 5K and a walk allows local residents of every age and capability to join in the fun.
The 5K started at 8:30 a.m. The top three male and female winners in each age group took home awards. Female overall honors went to Jessica Mariler. She ran at a 5:42 pace with a net time of 17:43. Male overall honors went to Matt Jenkins with a 16:30 net time from a 5:19 pace.
Additional winners can be found in the sports section of today’s paper.
The Great Strides walk took place at 10 a.m. for those interested in supporting the cause at an easier pace.
Participant Tom Major said he runs every year.
“I consider myself an amateur runner,” he said. “I run most of these 5K events. I am from Cleveland and I just run these for the cause, you know?”
He said he likes how he has been able to tie his enjoyment of running to good causes throughout the community.
Major ran in his 10th 65 Roses 5K Saturday.
Volunteers Michelle Bostic and Sarah Ogier helped out alongside their “sisters” in the Lee University Greek service club, Omega Alpha Phi.
“We are a service club, so service is at the foundation of what we do. It is always fun. It is what we enjoy,” Bostic said. “It is a great time to have community and you know you are doing a great thing and it is for a good cause.”
She said it seemed like there was a sense of hope in the air.
Ogier added, “I think it is awesome to be a part of a group that wants to do good for someone else.”
Hammond offered her thanks to the community and Lee University for another great year.
“As a CF mom, I cannot thank enough the support of Lee University and the students and all of the work they put into this event,” she said. “So many different aspects of the community come together to support CF. I always leave with a full and grateful heart.”
Donations will be accepted up until the luncheon. These can be made online at fightcf.cff.org. The find a walk/team tab at the top of the page will lead to a search box. Typing in ‘37311’ will pull up a list with Cleveland/Bradley Co. at the top.
Hammond said donations may also be made by mailing a check made out to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to Vanessa Hammond at Lee University.