Color Run raises $24,000 for charity

By Jessica Johnson

March 30, 2014

Saturday’s torrential downpours held off until the rainbow came through — that is, a rainbow of color covering the 664 participants in Helping Hands Foundation of Surry’s first 5k Color Run.

Despite the misty conditions, spirits were high and colors were bright at the Color Run, which began and ended at Riverside Park.

Helping Hands Founder Nicholas Cooke, who works as assistant operations and employee relations coordinator at AES, was thrilled with the results — approximately $24,000 raised for the Helping Hands Foundation of Surry, an organization he founded which assists families in the area who are struggling to provide for themselves. The foundation provides food, toiletries, clothes, toys, utility bill assistance, and more for families in need.

A new effort this year, the Helping Hands Outreach Program will allow non-profit organizations to apply for funding and supplies so the organizations can focus on assisting people in times of need rather than spend a lot of time on fundraisers.

Cooke said 800 people registered and 664 people participated in the 5k, as well as 40 children participating in the fun run prior to the 5k. Cooke said it was a huge turnout, much better than he expected. In fact, Cooke said he believed this was the largest 5k that has ever taken place in Surry County.

“I want to thank everyone who came out and participated in our very first 5k. The community response to the event and the support of our organization is greatly appreciated. We really appreciate each and every participant for coming out despite the weather. The money raised is much greater than we had ever expected and will be extremely beneficial to those in need that we assist within the community. We hope to improve our participant experience next year from lessons learned this year and we look forward to next year’s event.”

Cooke said that due to the feedback he has received, next year’s route will be less difficult with increased safety. He said the group will begin assembling a 5k fundraiser committee for the 2015 5k in July of this year, and anyone who would like to volunteer for the committee should contact him at or by calling 336-648-7727.

Cooke said the board of directors for the Helping Hands Foundation was thrilled with the amount raised, which almost reaches the campaign goal of $25,000 for the entire year, which runs from May 1 to April 3o. “We will exceed this year’s goal by nearly $10,000. I want to encourage everyone to check out our website to learn more about the campaign, how to contribute, and the use of funds.”

Cooke said the proceeds are not used for any rent, utilities, or any other facility maintanence, and the organization does not have any paid employees — all proceeds go directly to help those in need in the community.

The top three overall winners in the male and female group, along with the top winner in each male and female age division were:

Male Division First Place: Matthew Mayes, 19, of Lowgap, 19.1 minutes; Second Place: Jordan Bowman, 17, of Mount Airy, 20.23 minutes; Third Place: Hunt Harrison, 15, of Mount Airy, 20.31 minutes

Female Division First Place: Alyssa Cox, 13, of Mount Airy, 22.16 minutes; Second Place: Kristen Martin, 24, of Elkin, 23.13 minutes; Third Place: Madison Puckett, 16, of Laurel Fork, Virginia, 23.38 minutes

Male Division Winners: Age 9 and under winner: Jayce Hodges, age 8, of Dobson, 26.42 minutes; Age 10-14 winner: Alex Bowers, age 13, of Mount Airy, 21.57 minutes; Age 15-19 winner: Nathaniel Easter, age 16, of Mount Airy, 20.40 minutes; Age 20-29 winner: Matthew Hall, age 23, of Hillsville, Virginia, 21.51 minutes; Age 30-39 winner: Chad Tidd, age 36, of Mount Airy, 20.49 minutes; Age 40-49 winner: Jon Carroll, age 45, of King, 23.42 minutes; Age 50-59 winner: Dan Harrison, age 51, of Mount Airy, 25.09 minutes; Age 60+ winer: Jim Littleton, age 66, of Mount Airy, 27.31 minutes

Female Division Winners: Age 9 and under winner: Sarah Mauldin, age 9, of Mount Airy, 24.02 minutes; Age 10-14 winner: Hanne Cooke, age 13, of Mount Airy, 25.29 minutes; Age 15-19 winner: Carley Vanhoy, age 17, of Mount Airy, 25.47 minutes; Age 20-29 winner: Melissa Wall, age 28, of Ararat, Virginia, 24.53 minutes; Age 30-39 winner: Amanda branch, age 38, of King, 24.52 minutes; Age 40-49 winner: Lone Cooke, age 40, of Mount Airy, 25.30 minutes; Age 50-59 winner: Donna McLamb, age 53, of Dobson, 31.23 minutes; Age 60+ winner: Marie Haynes, age 64, of Mount Airy, 36.22 minutes

Cooke added that he wanted to thank the Mount Airy Police Department, Fire Department, and Rescue Squad for assisting with traffic control and assuring the participants’ safety, as well as a thank you to DJ Danny Jenkins and Go! Sports Timing and Events. He also wanted to thank event organizers Leslie and Steve Cooke, Jeana and Roger Cox, Whitney Cox, Sandra Haymore, Kristen Utt, and the more than 80 volunteers.

Sponsors for the event included T&W Signs & Graphics, Stanley HVAC, Friendly Heating and Cooling, M&M Graphics & Awnings, Shikora Express, Infinity Day Spa, Sabika Representatives Michelle Wertman & Sand Cave, AES, Mountain Valley Hospice, Scenic Ford, CK Technologies, Cooke Rentals, Haynes Strand & Company, Burton Signworks, Mayberry Takeout, Surry Yadkin Electric, Surrey Bank & Trust, Jamn Tees, Subway, T&K Enterprises, and Haymore’s Helping Hand.

Visit the Helping Hands Foundation’s website at

Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess