Saturday’s 10th annual Hospice of Marshall County Race to Remember featured more than 1,000 participants and, more importantly, shattered its fundraising goal.
Held for the first time in Albertville, the event has raised more than $76,000 so far as fundraising efforts continue through March 31. The goal was originally $60,000. Last year, the run raised $54,000.
“We’re hoping to hit $80,000,” said Annah Grace Morgan, HMC fund development specialist.
HMC is a nonprofit provider of peace and comfort for the end-of-life journey.
For Morgan, the event was inspiring for a number of reasons, but especially when Boaz resident Barbara Abbott crossed the finish line. Abbott ran for Beulah Baptist Church’s Team Accepted in memory of her husband Frank, Morgan said. Last year, Abbott participated in her first 5K at the Race to Remember but fell early in her run, causing an injury that led to knee replacement surgery, Morgan said.
Abbott, who’s in her 70s, returned this year.
“She has had the most amazing attitude,” Morgan said. “She was the last finisher, and there were several people that gathered around to cheer her on and actually walked across the finish line with her. Just seeing her battle back and cross the finish line was so powerful and incredibly inspirational for me.“Of course, there were all kinds of great stories because people are participating in memory of their loved ones. They participate in this race to remember their mom, or dad, or sister or friend. It’s more than just a fun event, or well-supported 5K. It’s a celebration of their lives and a positive way to remember them. It is why we do it.”
The winner of the race was Lee Evans, 34, Albertville, with a time of 18:48 followed by Tyler Stringer, 19, Hanceville, with a time of 19:49 and Tyler Dobbins, 16, Boaz, with a time of 20:19.
The top female was Jessica Hulgan, 33, Albertville, who finished 12th overall with a time of 21:58. The next two female finishers were Pam Willingham, 43, Rainsville, with a time of 23:58 and Evelyn Musick, 48, Crossville, with a time of 24:19.
Team Walmart Sparks won the largest team award, and Team Reese won best dressed/best T-shirt award. More awards will be announced at the Fundraising Awards Party scheduled April 23 from 5-7 p.m. at Santa Fe Cattle Co.
This year’s Race to Remember started at Albertville High School and was the first-ever color run, an element that added more excitement to the event, Morgan said.
“Our slogan was celebrate life with color, and we think we did celebrate life that day.”