Other runners, perspiring and tiring, negotiated Court Street in varying degrees of concern and anticipation, caring about their times and their finish. Some displayed a finishing kick that would make l00-meter dash participants envious. Others pounded the hard concrete as competitively as possible, ending their races with acceptable times … maybe hoping to do better next year.
Slowly, other participants — one by one, or bunched — made it to the finish line. It made for thrilling athletic achievement worthy of notice, with similar expectations for this year’s 17th running on Sept. 28.
Then, minutes later, came the walkers – important participants because community citizenship is their main cause. To be a part of a traditional event is their main reasoning. Their times?
“They don’t use a stopwatch for us,” said one. “They use a calendar.”
So, an impressive time isn’t important. They just want to finish. They just want to be part of the Unity Run. They just want to see that people who help people are funded and are operative.
Kathy Ingle is a walker. She is part of a bank challenge team from Georgia Bank &Trust. Co-worker Venus Herron joins in; so do Nancy Kelly, among others. It’s a pride thing, not only for Kathy and her teammates, but for the company they represent who has sponsored the Unity Run for all 17 years. There is no last place at the Unity Run.
“It’s for a good cause,” says Kathy. “It is always involved with people who do good things for other people less fortunate. There are a lot of worthy organizations out there. Besides, it’s fun. You get to see old friends and other people that you don’t see that often.”
Kathy Ingle admits she isn’t all that competitive, but there are moments …
“I’ve had 60- and 70-year-old people pass me by,” she says with a laugh. “That kind of hurts my feelings, but I get over it. It’s just such a good feeling to reach that finish line. It’s like, ‘I made it!’ “
Then there is the coveted T-shirt, donned immediately, something to eat and drink — especially something to drink, considering the late-summer humidity — and the opportunity, says Kathy, “to stand around, talking and visiting, and to root for all the others coming in.”
So, the Unity Run is more tradition than a runner vs. runner race. It is more a community gathering than a competitive athletic event.
“It is,” says Gordon County United Way Director Vickie Spence, “an event where people come together for a common cause -- a good and needed positive cause. It has become a real Gordon County tradition, and we at United Way are very proud of it.”
Now comes the 17th renewal of the event that includes Mohawk and Shaw as the Platinum sponsors on the front of the T-shirt, Gold-Kelloggs, Silver-Engineered Floors LLC ,Georgia Bank and Trust, Gordon Hospital, Omnova Solutions, Inc., Bronze-AGC Pediatrics LLC, Calhoun/Gordon County CVB, Chick-fil-A, Kobelco Constructions Machinery America, Mannington Commercial, North Georgia National Bank, Santek Environmental of GA, Starr Mathews Agency, Wal-Mart, Friends-Calhoun City Schools, Calhoun Times, Cherokee Capital Amateur Radio Society, City of Calhoun, DJ Donny Holmes, DJ Kevin Casey, F&R Sales, Family Savings Federal Credit Union, Fitness First of Calhoun, Friends of the GEM, Gordon County, Gordon Optimist Club, Gordon County Schools, M&S Logistics, North Side Bank, Owens Florist, Roland Hay Farm, Shag-The Salon, Sunrise Printing, WEBS and WJTH.
Dr. Alan McHan
This year’s 5K event, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28, and starting at 6:30 p.m., will follow the same Gordon Central to Court Street route as last year, a route that includes Heartbreak Hill at Meadow Lane and Amen Corner at t Starr-Mathews Agency corner, just a few blocks from the finish line. The event once again has all the trimmings, including a 1K for kids from ages five to 12 to kick things off at the Gordon Central High School and finish up in Ratner Stadium on the track.
Other event features:
Two bands, Perfect Peace and G.R.A.S.S, playing on the route
High school bands
Zumba-aerobics with a Latin swing, for warming up runners prior to the start
Overall and Overall Gordon County Awards
Master and Grand Master Awards
16 Age Division Awards Male and Female
Finish line party at the corner of Court St., and Park Ave.
DJs Donny Holmes at start, Kevin Casey at finish lie
Shuttle buses from downtown to starting line (park downtown)
Proceeds from the event will eventually be shared by 19 United Way agencies. The joy of competition, camaraderie, fellowship and the positive feeling of community pride and citizenship will be shared by nearly 1,000 runners and Gordon County folks everywhere. For more information contact United Way at 706-602-5548 or go on-line at www.gordoncountyunitedway.org