March 5, 2014
The Downtown Dash 5K & Fun Run grew exponentially in its second year, not only in participation but in the amount of money raised through the event, which will in turn benefit its namesake downtown Clinton.
On Tuesday, a check totaling $4,000 was presented to the City of Clinton from the Downtown Dash Committee, a huge leap from the $1,200 netted as part of 2012’s inaugural run. The funds will go toward the purchase of a picnic table and three decorative trash cans, which will be placed in the downtown.
Downtown Dash chairwoman Alison Bradshaw, along with committee member Amanda Bradshaw, presented the check to Mayor Lew Starling, Councilman Neal Strickland and Clinton Development Corporation President Beth Stewart at Tuesday’s Council meeting.
City officials praised Downtown Dash organizers for another great event.
Alison Bradshaw said she appreciated the participation from runners and walkers, committee members and other volunteers, as well as Tarheel ChalleNGe and the Clinton Police Department, which both assisted with preparation and traffic control.
There were 148 race-day participants, 170 registrants and 28 sponsors for last year’s run. Those who took part in the 5K ranged in age from 9 to 70 and were not only from Clinton and Sampson County, but across the state and beyond, with some from Virginia and New York.
“We’re just really proud,” Bradshaw said. “We’re just a group of interested citizens who have come together to do something for the downtown-specific area. This was an idea born out of wanting to draw more people to downtown Clinton, but also expand the street fair a little bit. We’ve done that, and we’re hoping to expand it a little more (in 2014).”
Held the morning of the annual Court Square Street Fair in October, the 5K begins and ends in the parking lot on Vance Street near Fisher Drive, and passes through some of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown.
“We’re very lucky to be a partner with the street fair and become sort of an anchor event that morning,” Bradshaw said. “We hope to grow again next year and expand into a 10K. Hopefully that will bring people from a wider variety of areas and more interested runners as well.”
In 2013, the committee partnered with race management company Run The East to provide chip timing and other features to race participants, which was “much less stressful” than the manual timing of the inaugural event, the Dash chairwoman attested.
“You learn something every year, and we hope to do that again this year,” the Dash chairwoman remarked.
The goal of the annual excursion is to offer something fun in the downtown while raising proceeds for enhancement projects that will see it improved. Funds raised in 2012 purchased a sturdy picnic table for the tree park at City Market, a popular gathering spot. With another table and a few decorative trash cans, it will enhance the look and make it more visitor-friendly, they said.
Dash members have made large strides in that effort, and said they want to build on that foundation.
“We have a core committee and we’re really proud of what we’ve done here,” Bradshaw said. “We’re just a group of people who have come together to try to do something better for the town.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.