Members of the Carolina Carports team receive their award for winning the Downtown Rocks and Runs Corporate Fitness Challenge at the 2014 event. The group first participated last year, and are gold level sponsors of this year’s event.

Khadija Braddy celebrates as she wheels her stroller (and copilot) towards Downtown Rocks and Runs finish line in front of the Mount Airy City Municipal Building in August 2014. This year’s racers will get free admission to The Craig Vaughn Experience concert at Old North State Winery and a free glass of wine at 6 p.m. following the race.

Downtown Rocks and Runs Scavenger Hunt participants work together to figure out a clue. Pictured are Saige Horton (left) Kaitlyn Butera, Kristen Bedsasul, Sariah Thompson and Annmarie Bedsaul. The run kicked off the annual campaign for the United Fund, which helps 26 local agencies ranging from food pantries, the American Red Cross to five rescue squads.

Come for the rocks or come for the runs – “come out in one fashion or another,” said United Fund of Surry Executive Director Christina Plitt about the annual Downtown Rocks & Runs event.

With free stuff, awards, a rock concert after-party, and the chance to raise funds that directly impact the local community, the eighth annual 5K race through downtown Mount Airy offers plenty of incentives to do just that.

“Whether you’re running or cheering somebody on, we really tried to make it something for everybody,” Plitt said.

For the runs: the Aug. 1 race starts at 8 a.m. in front of the Mount Airy City Municipal Hall.

The early registration fee is $25, and $35 after July 22. All proceeds go to the United Fund annual campaign.

For the rocks: The Craig Vaughn Experience will perform at Old North State Winery at 6 p.m. following the race. The show is open to the public for a yet-to-be-determined cover charge.

Race participants will get in free.

And that’s not all.

“Everyone who participates in the run is getting two great pairs of socks,” donated by the Renfro Corporation and Farm to Feet , Plitt said, along with a race T-shirt, and to top it all off: a free glass of wine at the concert.

There are lots of ways runners can compete.

The certified course will be chip-timed with individual and team awards.

The team with the fastest average time finish will an award pack valued at $500.

Dubbed the “fun and adventure pack,” this year’s award includes donated gift certificates for movie and comedy club tickets to food tours, kayaking and paddleboard, art classes, and more.

For the little ones, or as Plitt put it — “kids of all ages” — a short course “Fun Run” will start at 8:45 a.m. Fun Run participants will get a ribbon and can purchase a race shirt for $10.

The Corporate Participation Challenge awards the organization with the highest number of participants with a trophy.

The 2014 winner, Carolina Carports, already a gold level sponsor of this year’s event, appears to be the team to beat.

While Downtown Rocks & Run is held to kick start the annual fundraising campaign, Plitt said one of the best benefits of the event is helping folks better understand what the organization is all about.

“All the volunteers for the event are from the United Fund agencies,” she said. “Runners can actually meet the agencies that they are supporting.”

Those agencies, 26 of them, permeates the local community in as many ways, from rescue squads to girl and boy scouts, libraries to domestc violence shelters, and with plenty in between.

“We are dealing with a variety of different community concerns,” Plitt said. “We are targeting children’s issues, the arts; it’s a broad spectrum.”

Register for the race at downtownrocksandruns.itsyourrace.com. Find more information about the United Fund of Surry at unitedfundofsurry.org.

“I encourage people to sign up,” Plitt said. “It’s a great way to show your support for the local community.”

Terri Flagg is a staff writer at The Mount Airy News and can be reached at tflagg@civitasmedia.com.

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