The Sixth Annual MAD Dash 5K & Fun Run held April 28 raised more than $20,000 for Surry County Schools’ students and teachers.
The race, hosted by the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation, had more than 500 participants racing through the streets of Dobson, with hundreds more volunteers and spectators cheering them on. The 5K began on the Surry Community College campus and finished at the 50-yard line of the Surry Central High School Rex Mitchell Track and Field. Dozens of children participated in a Fun Run following the 5K.
Ryan Mills took first overall with a time of 16:33.8, second place was Elek Wyble at 17:12.7, and third place was Eli Riggs at 18:22.9. The top three female runners were Deanne Fitzgerald at 19:09.2, Annika Bell at 20:36.4, and Yasmin Hernandez at 20:54.7.
All eleven Surry County Schools GROW (Go Run Our World) Strong Teams competed in the event. Each team goes through a 10-week training after school. The training not only prepares the students to participate in the 5K, but also teaches positive characteristics like determination, confidence, self-pride and race etiquette.
Deanne Fitzgerald, Surry County Schools GROW Strong coordinator, believes the program teaches children to persevere through tough situations.
“This not only applies to running but life in general. Students learn that when a situation is difficult or challenging they can keep pushing and accomplish more than they ever imagined they could accomplish,” Fitzgerald said. “It is so exciting to watch children go from not being able to run a minute without stopping to racing 3.1 miles in 10 shorts weeks. The self-pride and self-confidence that they build is something they can carry with them throughout their lives.”
Ten-year-old Jax Whitaker is a member of the Rockford Elementary GROW Strong team where Fitzgerald is the coach. Jax said he enjoys the GROW Strong program.
“I enjoy running and being on a team. I learned how to stay strong even if I’m tired. I enjoy running because it helps me in sports and it is a great mental sport that will help me in the future,” he said.
Teammate Yuri Cabrera also enjoys the GROW Strong program at Rockford Elementary.
“I enjoy GROW Strong because it allows me to follow my dreams. I also enjoy the running part of it because it is very fun and it is my passion. What I have learned is to never give up, so when I want to give up I think of GROW Strong,” said Cabrera