Super turnout at inaugural Haiti 5K

Griffin, Hudson lead field of 220-plus

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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HAMLET — The devil might tell Patsy Hartman she shouldn’t have been at the inaugural Hoofing it for Haiti 5K run/walk on Saturday at Richmond Community College.

In fact, the devil might argue she shouldn’t be alive. But the 77-year-old Rockingham woman has faith in her corner.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com From left to right, Lisa Benoist, Louise DeBerry and Patsy Hartman raise their arms in triumph as they approach the finish line of the inaugural Hoofing it for Haiti 5K on Saturday at Richmond Community College.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
From left to right, Lisa Benoist, Louise DeBerry and Patsy Hartman raise their arms in triumph as they approach the finish line of the inaugural Hoofing it for Haiti 5K on Saturday at Richmond Community College.

I’m here, Hartman said shortly after crossing the challenging 3.1-mile charity event — the first on the new Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail — “to prove that I can do it, and to prove that my God is good.”

Hartman is a four-time cancer survivor, twice ovarian and twice colon. Hartman beat it back all four times.

“I had wonderful doctors in Moore County and a great God,” Hartman said.

Hartman didn’t lead the field of more than 220 runners and walkers but was far out front in true but humble grit. When she crossed the finish line with her daughter, Lisa Benoist, and friend Louise DeBerry, she bowed her head in silent thanks to her savior. And she smiled, satisfied with another victory of life over death.

The group is no stranger to physical activity. They’ve completed the Seaboard Festival 5K and the Cordova School 5K in years past. Participating in this event, coordinated by the Mission to Haiti team from First United Methodist Church in Rockingham, was an idea born from one of their regular breakfast gatherings at Bojangles.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Camerson Hudson was crowned women's champion.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Cameron Hudson was crowned women’s champion.

“I call it my morning therapy,” Benoist said.

In a variety of ways, that’s exactly the purpose served for the more than 220 runners and walkers that enjoyed picture-perfect weather of a slightly overcast sky and a start-time temperature of 45 degrees.

Leading the enjoyment and first to the finish line in 19 minutes and 32 seconds was Richmond Senior High School cross country runner Wells Griffin. Griffin led the way on the course, which featured two loops of the new fitness trail — one in each direction — separated by an out-and-back paved stint through the parking lot towards the campus lake.

Griffin was followed by Neil Robinette (19:58) and Ryan Humphrey (22:17). Fellow Raider harrier Cameron Hudson was the top female finisher and eighth overall in 24:55. Rockingham Middle School Running Club coach Blair Fetner was second (13th overall) in 25:55 while Shelby Matheson rounded out the top three women with a 15th-place finish in 26:37.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Wells Griffin, right, waits patiently for a good time to pass Neil Robinette en route to the overall win.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Wells Griffin, right, waits patiently for a good time to pass Neil Robinette en route to the overall win.

Rev. Allison Farrah announced that thanks to general event sponsors, every penny of each participant’s entry fee would go to the case of feeding the less fortunate in Haiti — enough to provide rice, beans and oil to 225 people for a month.

Members of the newly formed Junior Beta Club at Washington Street Elementary School played a pivotal role in the morning’s logistics. Josie Anderson and Carolina Mendez went on stage to lead the group in the singing of the national anthem — with Anderson providing the voice — while club members waited at the finish line and greeted participants with bottles of water.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The first official event on the new Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail was, by any standard of measurement, a success.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The first official event on the new Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail was, by any standard of measurement, a success.

Filed in: Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Religion, Rockingham, Sports

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