Johnston Health Champions 5k

Thank you so much to the participants, sponsors and wonderful volunteers who helped make this event so successful! With 320 registered, we raised over $20,000 for the Angel Fund and Healthy Kids Fund! We cannot wait until next year!

RUNNING FOR A CAUSE: Champions 5K builds co-worker camaraderie

A sunny morning brought out more than 250 runners and walkers to the fourth annual Johnston Health Champions 5K.

The event, which was staged in front of the hospital, raised more than $20,000 for the Angel Fund and the Healthy Kids program. Alison Drain, director of the Johnston Health Foundation, says the event is becoming a popular healthful team-building activity for local businesses and a way to highlight and raise awareness about the work and mission of the foundation.

The Angel Fund assists cancer patients with needs related to their illness, and the Healthy Kids program teaches healthful nutrition and exercise habits to children who are at-risk for poor health. Some of those children walked and ran in the event on Saturday.

Of the ten teams entering the 5K, Four Oaks Bank, like last year, had the most members with 65. The prize was a pig pickin’. But after conferring with teammates, captain Erin McMahon announced that the bank would be giving its prize to runner-up Kenly 95 Gear’d Up, who had the broadest age-range of participants.

Also, Gear’d Up walked in memory of teammate Cody Watkins, who was hit by a car and killed on March 14 while training for the event. The team also released orange
balloons in his honor.

First-, second- and third-place male and female finishers were awarded medals across 11 age categories. Here are some of the notables: CEO Chuck Elliott and wife, Deb, both placed second in their age categories; Diane Westbrook of the finance department placed first in her age category; Rodney Gilmore had the best time, 20:19, and his friend, Dr. Rusty Anderson, finished second at 21; Tommy Williford of Smithfield, 80, was the oldest runner.

Among the volunteers were members of the Smithfield Selma High School baseball and softball teams.

Caroline Johnson of the Kenly team was among the participants who wrote to Drain after the race to share feedback.

“It was heartwarming, touching, inspirational, and awesome how we had the right of way with the traffic,” she said in an email. And Johnson, who has asthma, added that she happened to be in the right place at the right time to lend her inhaler to a walker who had forgotten to bring her own. The woman’s breathing had been noticeably heavy as they both approached the finish line, she said.

“What a touching, memorable, first 5K experience,” Johnson wrote. “I will never forget that morning.”

Article written by Suzette Rodriguez for Johnston Health’s LifeLiner.


To see more photos from the 5K head over to our Facebook page.

View 2014 Photos