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Teens With a Mission race Friday

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
Tricia Johnson and Whitney Bayer made sure that the Sixth Annual First Presbyterian TWAM 5K will take place on Friday night in Salisbury.
The first five races were all held at the Salisbury Community Park early in May, even though First Presbyterian is located on Fisher Street in Salisbury’s historic district. A few years back, race committee members discussed the idea of bringing the event back to the church, but this year Johnson and Bayer decided the timing was right.
2011 race director Johnson said Friday, “As race director, the biggest challenge is that everything is new this year. We have broadened our base of sponsors, updated our sponsorship agreements and race applications, increased the number of places that we are advertising the race and much more.
We have dri-fit shirts for the first time, and we added variety and value to race awards. But the goal of the event is still the same: to raise enough money to support our TWAM mission team as they endeavor to build a home and a better life for a family in need.
This year that mission will take place in San Jose, Costa Rica. While TWAM does mission work around Salisbury and throughout various locations in the US, the annual international mission trip takes everyone out of their comfort zone and lets them experience another culture. All this leads to stronger relationships within our group and deeper commitments to serving those in need.”
TWAM is a service organization that began 21 years ago at First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury. It is made up of 10th-12th-graders and a team of adult advisers. Each year they serve locally at Rowan Helping Ministries and nationally in locations such as New York City, Washington, D.C., Charlotte and the Appalachian Mountains. They have also traveled to Reynosa, Mexico and Arizona, Kentucky and Jamaica.
The TWAM 5K course will showcase the historic district by covering parts of Fisher, Church, Jackson, Fulton, Mitchell, Maupin, Bank and Marsh streets. Volunteers from First Presbyterian will man the corners and intersections with direction from the Salisbury Police Department. Runners will appreciate the fact that the course is basically flat with only short uphill on Maupin. Since the event begins with a fun run for ages 12 and under, and the longer 5K follows shortly after, the whole family can participate.
Associate Youth Pastor Bayer is a regular runner and is excited about the big night on Friday. She said, “I love that this race is different and unique. It is not like any other race. It is not only downtown and at sunset, but it is headquartered at our church. With the fun run, our 5K, and the many facets of Friday Night Out, there is plenty for the whole family to do.” The fun run starts at 7:30 p.m. and the 5K follows at 8 p.m.
Awards will be presented in 13 age groups for both male and female. Age group winners will receive an engraved hammer, which signifies the work that the youth will do in Costa Rica.
All 12 and under finishers in the fun run get a medal, and pre-registered participants get a T-shirt. All runners, regardless of age, will be treated to a buffet of post-race food and drinks.
Race sponsors include Lowe’s Home Improvement, Gordon and Carolyn Hurley, Bob and Sara Cook, Bill and Shari Graham, Fisher Realty, Innes Street Drug, Alan Burke CPA, F&M Bank, Rip and Debbie Collins, The Forum, Piedmont Eye Physicians and Surgeons PA, Deborah M Lucas MD, Hayes and Susan Smith, Kenan and Tracy Smith, Collin Choate Grubb, Piedmont Players Theatre, Sportrax, Cheerwine and Chef Santos by Goodfellows.
Johnson said that as she looks forward to Friday’s event, “I am very excited for what we hope will be a great night for Salisbury and TWAM. TWAM has always operated through funds raised by the youth and through the generosity of the church members. The success of this year’s event just means that many more people can be helped and that more youth can experience the job of serving in and beyond our church.”
Registration continues at www.active.com and at the First Presbyterian Church office on Fisher Street. Race day registration will also be available at the church from 6 to 7:45 p.m. on Friday before the race. More information can be obtained at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org, or by calling Bayer at 704-642-1881.

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