We have been overwhelmed by the kind e-mails thanking our towns for the friendly welcome they received while visiting us for Freedom's Run on Oct. 2. We would not have been able to pull this off without the help of each and every one of you. What we all witnessed Oct. 2 was an extreme collaborative effort from a community: You, the over 40 sponsors of this event, Shepherd University Students and Faculty, WVU Hospitals East and Eastern Education Division, National Park Rangers, local citizens, businesses, elected officials from two states, police and EMS and an extremely passionate all-volunteer race organizing committee. We thank YOU, the sponsors who helped make this a huge success. Our community welcomed almost 3,000 runners from 40 states.
We promoted a couple themes during the event - health and heritage. We are the No. 2 obese state in the nation, and in the Eastern Panhandle we are searching for our own solutions with non-competitive outdoor physical activity. We also raised funds and awareness for Wild and Wonderful Trails for Every Child and Roots and Shoots, a local initiative to build fitness trails and learning gardens at local schools and accessible for the whole community.
We also see our region as a Center for History and Heritage and through our work with the newly formed Two River Heritage (www.tworiversheritage.org) are working towards establishing the region as a National Heritage Area. We wish to not only showcase the area to our visitors, but to engage the local community in placed-based learning.
Freedom's Run brought a "green" theme to the race, too, thanks to the work of Karen Valentine and Go Green Gals. We recycled and composted almost everything. We achieved the standard to be a certified green event through Athletes for a Fit Planet (www.afitplanet.com).
2011 will be even better. We have been selected to be the Road Runners Club of America Eastern Regional Marathon Championship, so get ready for a fun filled active weekend with lots of visitors to our towns.
We have lots of stories posted on out Homepage www.freedomsrun.org. Hope you join us again in 2011.
All the best.