By Ashley Rader
Independence Day celebrations are traditionally filled with family gatherings, picnics and fireworks. If the Elizabethton/Carter County United Way has its way, the July 3 Stars and Stripes 4-Mile Run/Walk will be part of the itinerary as well.
While running four miles in mid-summer might seem counter-intuitive, race organizers hope the twilight timing will prove to be a big draw.
The Stars and Stripes race will begin at 8 p.m. at 3rd Street and Main Street, will loop through downtown Elizabethton and surrounding neighborhoods and will finish through the Covered Bridge.
“That will give it a nice finish,” said United Way Director Debbie Guy. “It is a great course. Participants do not have to run the entire course. If they want, they can walk parts and run what they can.”
Guy said the race was unique since it was being held in the evening. There are only a few road races held in the evening in the Tri-Cities.
“We have had some people interested in the race because it is going to be in the evening,” she said. “We already have between 80 and 100 people registered and the applications are continuing to come in.”
Preregistration for the race will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at Cat Island Park.
Guy has had help planning for the race from Crystal Honeycutt, a personal trainer and instructor of Train Dirty Fitness classes in Elizabethton. Honeycutt has helped to secure donations for the race and has collected items to be included in the goody bags that will be given to runners or walkers.
Honeycutt said she was inspired to help the United Way after receiving assistance from the organization in 2003. She learned of the race from Guy, who attends her fitness classes.
“My husband was laid off from his job, and the United Way helped pay our gas bill that winter,” Honeycutt said. “I always said I would help and give back to the United Way.”
Honeycutt contacted several local businesses to gather freebies and coupons to be put in the goody bags. The bags will contain a seven-day pass to Snap Fitness, free passes to Honeycutt’s own classes, a 30-day meal and exercise plan and 31 coupons to other local businesses or for fitness products.
Honeycutt also formed a team with her class members to run in the Stars and Stripes race.
“The girls in my class work so hard,” she said. “They motivate each other. They work so hard and they will be cheering each other on when they cross the finish line.”
Guy added the race could be a part of family celebrations for the Fourth of July.