Freeze column: 12th annual Bare Bones 5K even more special than normal

  • Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013 7:25 p.m.

One of the regular local races is the Bare Bones 5K. The name is interesting and there is a story that goes with it. But the biggest thing is that this race is not the normal 5K, and that statement is even more significant this year.

The start of this race was somewhat different than any other around. At the time, 12 years ago, there were not so many races of any distance. Such events were just starting to gain popularity, and it was common to have to drive as much as an hour to find a race on any given Saturday. Now you can usually find one in Rowan or one of the surrounding counties.

Bare Bones was not the original name of the race. A high profile sponsor had footed the whole bill for the race in the past, and plans were proceeding for more of the same. However, less than a week before race day, this particular sponsor pulled out. There were no other sponsors to step in with such short notice. The sponsor advocated that the race “just be cancelled.” The Salisbury Rowan Runners were associated with the race, and knew that a late cancellation would leave people in limbo. Many wouldn’t get the word in time.

The Salisbury Rowan Runners, with a very small bank account, decided to step up and have the best race possible. Plans were made to find food donations, accept the costs for the shirts ourselves and come up with some kind of awards for the overall and age group winners.

The race would go on!

At the end of that very first event, Salisbury Rowan Runners broke even on expenses. Race director Bob Zirt was pleased with that, and soon he had the idea of doing it again the next year. His goal was to give something back to the running community, offering a low cost opportunity to compete in a fitness event and to raise awareness for a charitable cause. Since that first Bare Bones 5K was unsponsored, we decided to stick with that same theme. For many years, Bare Bones has gone on without specific financial sponsorship. Various charities have benefited during that time.

Now, here we are in 2013. The Salisbury Rowan Runners have decided to make the 12th Annual Bare Bones 5K and half mile fun run even more special this time. The Salisbury Police Department and Fire Departments have been integral parts in the success of all the charitable giving that the Salisbury Rowan Runners do. They provide some of the safest race courses around, both with keeping the streets safe and providing emergency services for the participants. This year, any current member of the Salisbury Police Department and Fire Department will be given free entry into the 5K. Thank you to both groups for not only the job that you do at the races, but every single day of the year.

Bare Bones has historically been held on the Saturday before Memorial Day, the holiday that honors those who have served in the military to keep us free. Any previous or current military personnel with any service branch will also be given free entry. Without their efforts, something as small as a 5K race on a Saturday morning might not be possible.

Recipient of this year’s proceeds will again be Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. SRR made significant contributions to Relay for Life each of the last two years and plans to do it again following the race.

Knox Middle School is the setting for the Bare Bones 5K. There is also a half mile fun run for kids 12 and under. Start time for the 5K is 8:30 a.m. and the fun run follows at about 9:20 a.m.. All participants will receive a high quality dri-fit shirt, refreshments and a chance to win awards in 13 age groups for both male and female. Unique and popular awards are recycled trophies and medals from other events during the past year. Somebody is going to get a gigantic Christmas ornament for a May race.

Come out and join the celebration as we honor the Salisbury’s Police and Fire personnel as well as the military, both veterans and currently serving. Pass the word. We would love to run out of shirts because of a big turnout. We can get more. Walkers are encouraged to participate.

Novant Health Rowan Medical Center is SRR’s partner throughout the year, with Cheerwine and Knox Middle School regularly helping also. Jennifer Matlock is race director.

Information is available at and online registration continues through Friday afternoon at Call 704-310-6741 with any questions.

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