Many communities host at least one five-kilometer run each year, but a key distinction makes the 5K on the Greenway stand out from other such events in Mount Airy.
“This is the longest-running 5K in our community,’ city Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis explained.
The 5K on the Greenway, scheduled for Oct. 9 — while the Autumn Leaves Festival is under way downtown — is now in its 16th year after having been cancelled in 2020 along with other local races because of COVID-19.
As with similar events, it will be a morning affair, with the 5K (3.1 miles) to begin at 8 a.m. and a half-mile fun run at 8:45. The course winds along the Emily B. Taylor section of the city’s greenway network near Lovills Creek.
The 5K on the Greenway is hosted by the municipal parks and recreation division in partnership with Mount Airy City Schools.
All proceeds benefit the Reeves Community Center Foundation scholarship program, which allows underserved residents to participate in recreation programs, and the city schools’ technology needs. In one recent year, the event generated about $10,000, with around 250 runners usually expected.
There were 242 finishers in the last 5K on the Greenway on Oct. 12, 2019.
Local recreation officials have credited several reasons for its popularity, including the longevity of the well-organized, professional chip-timed event itself, aided by a veteran volunteer team.
Community support also has been a factor, including corporate sponsorships over the years from entities such as Renfro, this year’s title sponsor.
Holding the run on the same weekend as the Autumn Leaves Festival is another plus, since the festival draws more people into town who might decide to also participate in the 5K on the Greenway while here.
The standard admission cost for the 5K from now until race day is $38, $28 for youths under 18. The under-10 cost for the fun run is $15.
A spot will be designated for runners to pick up packets and register before the race near the intersection of Independence Boulevard and the Emily B. Taylor portion of the Granite City Greenway behind Roses and Choice Physical Therapy.
The run will start at the trail entrance there.
Lewis reminded Wednesday that participants will receive a long-sleeve dri-fit shirt along with a finisher medal. He has been encouraging everyone to register as soon as possible to facilitate shirt orders.
Cash prizes are to be awarded for overall male/female finishers in first, second and third places.
The top-three competitors in male and female age divisions also will be awarded, including 10 and under, 11-13, 14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70-plus.
Registration and additional details are available at https://5kotg.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=1710