LAURINBURG — Runners of all experiences battled the heat on Saturday to raise money to combat cancer and diabetes in the local community.
The 14th Annual FUNd Run-4-Life organized by the Scotland Memorial Foundation and presented by Service Thread featured a half-marathon that attracted runners from across the Carolinas, a 5k race, which was the mornings most attended run, and a 1 mile “fun run/ribbon walk.”
This year’s fundraiser had nearly 300 participants, who arrived at 7 a.m. with runners finishing up at around 11 a.m. The Scotland Memorial Foundation attributes a lot of the events success to the more than 150 volunteers, said Kirsten Dean, Scotland Memorial Foundation director.
The final tally raised has not been announced, but Dean was pleased with participation at the FUNd Run.
“We are super excited with the event and turnout, I think everyone had a wonderful time,” she said. “The event was an absolute success and in addition to raising money for a great cause, we have amazing sponsors that made it possible.”
Andy Parker, an avid runner from Cheraw, S.C., called the event a good one and said he looks forward to running in Scotland County again.
“This was my first year running this half-marathon, and I really enjoyed it,” said Parker, who is also training for an Iron Man triathlon.
The half-marathon winners for the men and women’s divisions were Brett Dixon of Cary, who recorded a time of 1 hour 30 minutes and 45 seconds, while Beofra Butler of Hinesville, GA won the event for the women’s division and finished only behind Dixon with a time of 1 hour 53 minutes and 42 seconds.
Scotland Memorial Foundation plans to distribute the proceeds raised Saturday between the organization’s Diabetes Education Fund, which provides resources and educational programs focused on addressing the growing trend of diabetes in children and adults, and the Scotland Cancer Treatment Center’s Patient Assistance Fund to assists patients facing financial challenges during cancer care.
According to the Center for Disease Control, diabetes rates are nearly 30 percent higher in Scotland County than the rest of North Carolina, with a mortality rate of 38.8 per 100,000. The CDC also warns of cancer continually getting worse in the area, with a rate of 531.2 per 100,000.
“Anything you can do from a exercise standpoint can help combat diabetes, and it is a big problem in this community,” said Jay Todd with Service Thread Manufacturing in Laurinburg.
As the fundraiser’s main sponsor, Service Thread believes it is important to help in educating the community on health and wellness, as well as cancer. “Service Thread is invaluable as a sponsor and they encourage wellness among their employees, and they lead by example with this event through the participation of their employees,” Dean said.
“One of the things for our company is that we have a big wellness program for our employees and we believe that is important,” Todd said. “So this event is a way that we can demonstrate that and provide an opportunity for the community to be able to participate in an event that raises awareness about wellness and certainly diabetes.”
Todd has participated in the half-marathon 12 of the 13 years the event has been going on, and although he didn’t finish in the top three for his age group, he said he was happy with the race and how it turned out.
“Today was great, I haven’t been training, so just to be able to finish and fell good afterwards, that was my goal today,” Todd said. “I am just so glad to have an opportunity to to do this hear in Scotland County —it’s nice to bring people together.”
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171