“Live united, be united, and feel united with your community,” said Vickie Spence, United Way Executive direc-tor Tuesday September 29 marks the 16th annual Unity Run for Gordon County and she wants to see 1000 people cross the finish line.
According to Spence, it is the unity of the community that enables the United Way Foundation of Gordon County to help those in need.
“The Unity Run kick off and all the support from our community makes it possible for the United Way to fund agencies that provide care for those in need.”
This year’s race is volunteer-based, with several local agencies, business and community groups donating time and money.
“I am anticipating a bigger crowd this year. Based on early registration we have more interest in the race than in previous years,” she said. Spence said more than 50 sponsors had already signed up by the end of August. “We have also surpassed what we had this time last year in funds.”
The Unity Run 5k was created by a group of community leaders looking for a healthful way to kick off the annual United Way campaign. This year’s campaign goal is $525,000.00.
“We have added another level of sponsorship called the ‘friend’ level that we are very excited about. There are a lot of ways to help others through the United Way foundation,” said Spence.
“We gather the money then we give it—not to individuals but to 19 agencies that provide services for those in need,” said Suzanne Roland, Downtown Development Authority director and secretary/treasury of United Way.
“These folks don’t work for the pay but for what’s in their heart,” she said.
As executive director of United Way, Spence has worked hard to make positive changes to the Unity Run. “Three years ago we started a 1K for the little kids, (grades K-5.) John Rainwater designs the route and athletes from the schools line up to cheer the kids on. It is a wonderful part of the Unity Run event,” Spence said.
Unity Run participants are encouraged to dress up as characters. “I have been told that Elvis will be there and possibly Obama. I have not heard if Sarah Palin will be here but that would be great,” said Spence.
There will also be a school competition and a bank competition said Spence. This year the schools will compete for the most participation on three levels; elementary, middle and high school.
“It is just a great opportunity to have a good time. Get out and have fun with your neighbors and community. En-courage people to come out and cheer along the route if they don’t want to walk or run in the race. It makes you feel good to cheer your friends on,” Spence said.
The race will start at Gordon Central and finish at in downtown Calhoun. Parking for the 5k race will be at Cal-houn High School near the finish line. Buses will run participants to the registration area and starting line at Gordon Central High School. The 5K race starts at 6:30 p.m. and the 1K walk begins at 5:00p.m. Applications are available at several locations including the Calhoun Times.
“If you don’t want to register the day of the race you may register or pick up your packet at the United Way office in the Calhoun Depot, Monday, September 28 from 2p.m. to 6p.m.,” said Spence. Applications and race information are also available online at www.gordoncountyunitedway.org.