ELKIN — Saturday morning was crisp and clear and perfect for a run in the Elkin Municipal Park when individuals from the Yadkin Valley joined to participate in the seventh annual Habitat Hammer. Benefiting the Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity, which builds and renovates houses in Yadkin County and the Tri-County area of Surry and Wilkes, the Hammer is a flexible race with yearly changes to accommodate the needs of participants allowing for walkers as well as runners.
First to cross the finish line was Elkin High School sophmore Charles Walker.
Second to cross the finish line was Antonio Luna who signed up for the 10K but only ran the 5K.
“I feel like I want to do more running,” explained Luna, “but I’m not ready for a 10K. I love to run. It’s my favorite thing to do.”
The most popular runners of the morning were Elkin Elementary School’s G-Force girls’ running club with 11-year old member Maggie Hall as the first female to cross the finish line.
“It feels awesome even though it was my worst time,” insisted Hall. “I just love pushing myself, setting goals for myself, and feeling empowered with racing.”
G-Force is coached by Lisa Ford and Meredith Snider and was started three years ago by Stacey Libbert and race coordinator Crystal Morphis, according to Snider, who runs as a way to set a healthy example for her own two girls.
According to Tracy Wall, his daughter Mallory was excited to exhibit the efforts of their weekly practices.
“Her mom did a couple 5ks and [Mallory’s] been doing them since [her mom] can’t anymore.” Wall expressed pride in the group of third- through sixth-graders who supported one another throughout the race.
Also supportive of her friend was Kayla Birdwell. “I’m not ready for today,” acknowledged Birdwell, who prepared for the race using the couch25K app for the past two weeks so that she could run with her friend, Tiffany Sparks.
“I’m crazy,” insisted a very cold Sparks, who has participated in the Hammer for three years.
“It’s a good cause,” Sparks added. “It benefits individuals and the community.”
This year a 10K course was added to the traditional 5K. Last year a confusing half marathon was offered that had participants making two loops to accommodate the required 13.1 miles in the small town of Elkin. Previously a children’s run had been included.
Children were considered this year also as organizers planned the event. Children’s games were available through Prism Medical Products.
“[The Hammer] is a great opportunity to give back to the community and support Habitat for Humanity,” stated Matt Scott, payer relations coordinator for Prism.
Also of significant support for the morning was Warren Bates representing Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, who provided food for the runners at the end of the race.
“We have two folks that I work with who are Habitat homeowners,” indicated Bates. “I’ve seen the importance of [Habitat for Humanity] in their lives and I hope to be able to impact the lives of others. This is my way of giving back.”
Another way to give back by supporting Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity is participation in the golf outing at Cedarbrook Country Club sponsored by the Yadkin Valley and Yadkinville Rotary clubs at the end of May. For more information on how to participate, to make a donation or other inquiries about Habitat, go to www.UYVhabitat.org, call 336-526-2277 or visit the ReStore at 102 E. Market St. during regular business hours.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.