Runners, at Your Mark

Blythewoodians Jim Graddick, left, and Dave Holder, on bass, entertain with fellow Barefoot-n-Reckless band members Gary Hydrick of Elgin and Hobart Trotter of Columbia. The group will perform a free concert at the Town Park amphitheater on Sunday evening, Sept. 1 prior to the Monday morning Plantation Park Run.

Readers, your humble scribe is not a runner. You can take one look at me and deduce that. The only time I ever run on purpose is when someone is chasing me. But I understand there are those of you out there who enjoy running, who do it for . . . fun. Well, have I got a fun run for you – it’s the Fourth Annual Blythewood Labor Day Run featuring a 10K run, a 5K run and a 1-mile Kid’s Fun Run. It takes place at the Blythewood Middle School on Sept. 2. It’s hosted by the Blythewood Middle School PTO and Eggplant Events Production, said the school’s PTO President Leanne Thompson.

But the fun actually begins the evening before, on Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Town Hall park amphitheater where the Barefoot-n-Reckless band will present a free concert for the runners and public from 5-8 p.m. Two of the four members of the band are Blythewoodians – Jim Graddick on mandolin and Dave Holder on bass. The popular new band will entertain with Americana, bluegrass, country and rock. Food vendors will be on site. And from 5-7 p.m., as the music plays on, runners can pick up their packets nearby in the park.

Bright and early the next morning, race day packet pick-ups and race day registration begin at 6:30 a.m. in the Blythewood Middle School gym lobby. The 10k will start at 7:30 a.m., the 5k at 7:40 a.m. and the Kids’ Fun Run at 8:40 a.m. All three races start and finish at Blythewood Middle School. The 10K and 5K routes are USA Track and Field certified courses and will take runners through Longcreek Plantation, a beautiful residential area of Blythewood, as well as the rural areas surrounding Blythewood Middle School. The 10K runners will enjoy a mixture of flat areas and hills with views of Lake Columbia and the Longcreek Plantation Equestrian Center. The 5K runners will love the flat, scenic course in the historic Round Top area of Blythewood. The 1-Mile Kids’ Fun Run will take place around the gated perimeter of the middle school campus.

Cash prizes of $50 will be awarded for male and female overall and master winners. Overall second and third male and female and first, second and third male and female in the following age groups will also receive signature Blythewood Labor Day Run awards : 10 and under; 11-14; 15-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; and 70+.

“This is the largest fundraiser of the year for the middle school,” Thompson said. “Previously this was a fundraiser for the school’s orchestra. The proceeds from this year’s event will go toward a digital school sign next to the building and toward creating a field trip scholarship fund for economically disadvantaged students. This is also a great way to get the community involved. Last year we had 400 runners. We’re hoping to have 500 this year.”

To register or for more information, visit www.BlythewoodLaborDayRun.com. Those wishing to volunteer before, after or during the race should contact the event coordinators at [email protected]

All kidding about running and chasing aside, this sounds like a great event that the runners among you should enjoy. And don’t forget the free concert on Sunday, which you will enjoy whether you run or not.