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Approval given for annual Freedom’s Run

By Staff | Aug 11, 2017

At Monday evening’s regularly scheduled Town Council meeting, officials gave the go-ahead once again for the upcoming Freedom’s Run event scheduled for Sept. 30.

Organizer Mark Cucuzzella shared that the event is scheduled a little earlier than in previous years so that it does not bump up against any potential government budget pitfalls that could cause issues. In a previous year, a federal shut-down caused routes to change and Cucuzzella said Monday, he would just rather be prepared for any possibility.

He requested that the town once again allow police participation to keep intersections safe as runners and walkers traverse through the town. Street closures on Sept. 30 will be minimal but will involve a few areas for short amounts of time.

Freedom’s Run encompasses a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, 5K and even a one-mile kid’s fun run.

Race routes have the marathon event starting at the Murphy Farm in Harpers Ferry 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.

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. Freedom’s Run was 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.

All of these accolades and recognitions bring even more individuals to participate in what has become a premier event.

“We had 45 states represented last year,” Cucuzzella said.

Developed to encourage a healthy lifestyle, the run has gained size and momentum over the years.

Runners joined in for many different reasons.

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.

Town officials praised the event.

“It helps the whole Eastern Panhandle,” Mayor Jim Auxer said. “You are very generous in your contributions.”

It was discussed that suggestions be made to town businesses that they be open later on Friday evening before the event and on Saturday morning prior to the race start times to allow attendees an opportunity to shop in town.

More information about the race will be forthcoming.