Leading the pack

May. 12, 2013 @ 05:13 AM

“Ready, set, go!” yells Brenda Watson, executive director of Communities in Schools of Rutherford County (CISRC), as nearly 120 runners sprint across the starting line at McNair Field on Saturday morning.

Runners and walkers of all ages participated in the fourth annual Leader of the Pack 5K & Fun Run, racing 3.1 miles through Forest City.

“We have runners from all over the county and state that come to participate in this race,” Watson said. “We are very blessed to have had such excellent running weather for this event over the years.”

The event is part of the Rutherford Running Series sponsored by the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition, and is the signature fund-raising event for CISRC.

CISRC is an organization that strives to surround students with a community of support and empower them to work hard in school and achieve in life. CISRC works to keep kids in school and help them while they are attending school through a variety of programs and by providing students with mentors.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to runners after the race, including the top three males and females in several age groups, top overall male and female and top master.

Almon Cox of Union Mills crossed the 5K finish line first with a time of 19:09.

In second with a time of 19:59 was Kyle Clark of Shingle Hollow, who is a member of the R-S Central cross-country team.

“I try to run all of the 5K’s in the Rutherford Running Series, and I’m planning to do this one again next year,” Clark said.

Placing third in the event was Roberto Gonzalez of Spindale with a time of 20:22.

“I feel healthy and powerful when I run — I run at least 30 miles a week,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve also been running the whole Rutherford Running Series.”

A trophy was also awarded to the school with the most participants in the race. The winning school was Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy with 52 runners.

“This race is a good way to get kids involved in exercise and participate in an activity,” Watson said. “It’s nice because children, parents, and the community are involved. Next year we are thinking about possibly adding another segment to the event, such as cycling or a 10K.”