Nonprofits to benefit from record Neuse River Bridge Run turnout
It was barely daybreak Saturday when runners in the first division race in the Neuse River Bridge Run took off, led by a group of disabled athletes on handcycles from the Team Hope for the Warriors in the annual event’s first half-marathon.
Hope abounded in all divisions as 1,001 participants — a record number for the event for nonprofit awareness and fundraising — dashed over all of the bridges at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers and into the sunrise.
Wayne Taylor, 59, of Greenville, ran his fourth half-marathon for the ORuBO Team. the name stands for Oakmont Runners for Bo, a 16-year-old boy at Taylor’s church who was going to run the Disney Marathon with him “but didn’t make it.” He was killed in an automobile accident before the event, so his friends keep running for him.
The TarSox, a growing New Bern team in Tar Heel blue shirts with a Boston Red Sox accent, ran in the half-marathon and the 10K and 5K races that followed with hope and purpose of its own.
The group, led by Boston Marathon veteran Lynne Davenport of Trent Woods, included her 14-year-old daughter Blair and a host of friends who run to honor husband and father Scott Davenport, who died in June from complications of cancer. the founder of Davco Energy Systems had been a Tar Heel and Red Sox fan. He threw the season-opening pitch in March for the Sox with a stage IV cancer diagnosis hanging over his head and strength and inspiration still running through his veins.
The TarSox raise money for charities, including the American Cancer Society.
The finish line folks were not even looking for returning runners when Beth Floyd of Swansboro flew out of nowhere past unofficial counters registering 36.3 minutes for the 10K race.
The trim runner in Halloween black and orange turned heads at that speed, but the 36-year-old runner’s official time and the race’s best, came in at 35:59, more than three minutes ahead of Scott McCann, 29, in second, and Blake Hollister, 16, in third.
“I enjoy running and I’m faster without pushing two kids in the stroller,” Floyd said. “I’m just getting back in shape.”
Half-marathon winners in the handicapped division were Matthew Austin, 27, and Chris Hedgcorth, 45. In regular running, Chris Reighn, 38, came in first; Leon Lajreniere, 40, second; and Tyler Pake, 27, third.
Top placers in the 5K race were Frank Wood, 15, first; Ben Hancock, 50, second; and Trey Tuten, 20, third.
There were many winners, particularly the nonprofit groups that will further benefit from the returns of the record turnout. Beneficiaries include the Craven Arts Council, Craven Community College Foundation, Craven Regional Medical Center Foundation, Mediation Center of Eastern Carolina, MERCI Clinic, Promise Place, Religious Community Services and the Twin Rivers YMCA.
“it was a wonderful success,” said Jim Bisbee, president of the Bridge Run board that organized the event. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback and such great support from sponsor CarolinaEast Health Systems.”
Sue Book can be reached at 252-635-5665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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