By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Ryan Warnick exploded through the finish line with his hands high in the air after completing his first 5K run.
Warnick, 12, ran the race with his dad Greg who finished eighth overall out of the 333 people who participated in the second annual Tie-Dye Invitational. The event was put together by HealthWorks! and sponsored by the Tupelo Quality of Life Committee. The race, held at Ballard Park, was a fun family experience that mixed competition and family festivities while promoting overall health.
“I’m tired but I had fun running with everyone today,” said Warnick, who seemed to regain the energy he lost during the race as soon as he sprinted across the finish line. “I’m proud of myself for finishing.”
Event organizer and HealthWorks! Director Donna Loden said this year’s run was bigger and better than last year’s and it was all done for a good cause.
“This is a very important fundraiser for HealthWorks! and for the children who want to attend summer camp with us,” said Loden while sporting a color-filled tie-dye T-shirt that was the theme of the race. “The money raised will go towards scholarships that will help to pay tuition for some of the children who want to come to the camps this summer. Aside from that, this is a great promotion for overall health and fun with the family.”
Even though she finished well behind winner Jim Brown’s time of 16:32, Brenda Martin said she got a lot more out of the run than a victory and trophy.
“Last year this time I was in the hospital suffering from several health issues dealing with my weight,” said Martin. “I couldn’t even run 10 feet and now I just did a 5K. I consider myself a winner.”
Family members and friends cheering on the runners and music made it a fun and festive event. The sights and sounds of the people cheering motivated some of the runners to keep going.
“I was ready to quit after the first half-mile or so, but after I saw my children and husband cheering for me I had to keep going,” said Marlene Richards. “I finished it for myself but they definitely helped me. Now next year we’ll cheer while he does all the running and hard work.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.