Thousands run Freedom’s course
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny with a crispness to the autumn air. It served as a perfect day for Freedom’s Run which included a marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K and one-mile kid’s fun run.
The annual event, organized by Dr. Marck Cucuzzella, drew in thousands of runners who traveled courses throughout Jefferson County as well as parts of Maryland.
The marathon event started in Harpers Ferry at the Muirphy Farm, taking runners through the C&O Canal to the Antietam battlefield and into Shepherdstown. The half marathon runners,10K and 5K runners all left Shepherdstown to run along different courses. The half marathon runners headed into Maryland to the Antietam Battlefield while the shorter distance runners traveled down River Road and around county roadways back to Shepherd University where all of the races concluded.
Cucuzzella announced Saturday from the lawn of McMurran Hall, that there were over 2,200 runners from 45 states and six countries participating in the race.
The historical route and race organization has earned a “Top 25 Half Marathon” by Runner’s World Magazine in February 2013 and is the Highlight Race in October 2013 Runner’s World. Read the Runners World piece. Freedom’s Run is listed as a “Must Do” race in Competitor Magazine September 2014, and a featured race in The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die by Denise Malan Harpers Ferry was also just named the top fall destination in the country by Yahoo travel.
Developed to encourage a healthy lifestyle, the run has gained size and momentum during its seven years.
The goal behind Freedom’s Run is to raise awareness of healthy living, promote outdoor activity and highlight the history of the area. The event is the result of a collaborative effort between the Eastern Area Health Education Center, WVU Health Sciences Center Eastern Division University Healthcare, the National Park Service Shepherd University and the Two Rivers Heritage Partnership.
Funds raised through the run are generally donated to areas that promote healthy living. Some of the projects that have received funding include trails at James Hite Park and North Martinsburg Middle School, the T.A. Lowery Elementary School Green House Project, the South Jefferson Elementary School Outdoor Classroom and Trail and the C&O Canal Classrooms Education Program.
Over $120,000 has been donated from funds raised with many of those dollars receiving matching funds for projects that increase the amount spent.