By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
May 25 runners will take off from Bluefield High School headed to Mitchell Stadium in the Bluefield Beaver 8K run.
The race will benefit a program that assists those less fortunate. That program is called Blessings in a Backpack.
Blessings in a Backpack is a national organization that allows communities to raise money and provide food for those in need who attend elementary schools. Bags of food are sent home with children each weekend of the school year.
Betsey Shaw is the local coordinator of the program and she, along with BHS Principal Michael Collins are behind the drive to get the race started.
“I am always looking for ways to raise money for Blessings in a Backpack and Mike suggested we sponsor a race,” Shaw said. “Several years ago Bluefield would hold a race on Memorial Day weekend and we wanted to bring that tradition back. Mike likes to run races and we wanted to get BHS and the community involved with the Mountain Festival, so we thoght this was a perfect fit.”
The race will begin at Bluefield High and continue down Bland Street, through the residential streets of South Bluefield, down College Avenue and end at Mitchell Stadium. Why an 8K instead of a 5K or 10K?
“There are several 5K runs in the area already and we felt an 8K is a little more challenging, but not as demanding as a 10K,” Shaw said. “An 8K is right in the middle and there isn’t any other 8K run in the area.”
Once at Mitchell Stadium, there will be a Fun Run and games for children 10 and under. Cost of the Fun Run is $10 and all those proceeds will benefit BHS Project Graduation.
Cost for the 8K race is $20 if registered prior to May 20. After that date the entry fee is $25. Registration on race day will be from 6:15-6:45 with runners taking off at 7 a.m.
“We really want to turn this race into an annual event,” Shaw said. “We feel this is a great addition to all the activities going on during the Mountain Festival and the holiday weekend.
“Bluefield High School hs such tradition in town and this will be another tradition we want to continue and have it grow over the years.”
Shaw said support for the endeavor has been tremendous throughout the community, from both the public and private sector.
“The City of Bluefield has been extremely supportive of this race,” Shaw noted. “(City Manager) Jim Ferguson has been instrumental in getting security through the police department so our runners will be safe running in the streets.
“Josh Cline at the city offices has given us great advice through his expertise of organizing races. The BHS art department has designed a fantastic tee shirt which all participants will get.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to participate in a new tradition here in Bluefield and to also help out a great cause for our children.”
For additional information brochures are available in Bluefield-area businesses, or log onto swvrrc.org.
Blessings in a Backpack is already in effect at Memorial and Whitethorn Schools and organizers are working to implement the program at Bluefield Intermediate.