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Just as I said last year, don’t miss a special event on Friday evening, Sept. 2. The second annual BB&T Sunset Run/Walk 5K kicks off at 8 p.m., and this year’s race is the Road Runners Club of America North Carolina Championship 5K.
It will be the centerpiece of a night of fun and entertainment in downtown Salisbury. Some of the fastest runners in the state will attend, and if you don’t want to participate, there are plenty of great vantage points all around downtown Salisbury. Walkers are encouraged to participate also.
There is a runner in Salisbury who decided that he can’t miss the event. I’ve written about Joe Endres before. His positive inspiration is apparent to all that he meets. Joe has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and his leukemia has spread to his lungs. He is currently taking chemotherapy in an effort to improve his breathing and overall well-being. Joe’s chemo has been repeated every week for four months in hopes that his leukemia will go into remission.
I asked Joe why he wanted to run this race. Joe replied “I want to challenge myself and I want to be with lots of people.” He has been training three times a week by running and taking walking breaks. Joe lives downtown near the course, and uses the Sunset 5K course for much of his running. His disease has robbed Joe of his breath for much of the last two years, though he was a regular runner in the years preceding the cancer moving to his lungs.
Joe has been running the 3.1 mile distance in about 45 minutes, but he hopes to do it in 40 minutes at the Sunset Run. His wife, Connie, tells Joe that he shouldn’t push it so hard, but Joe says, “I can do it, and I will mix running and walking till I finish.” And finish he will. Come out and see Joe. He’ll be wearing the same clothes as in this picture, and will welcome your encouragement. The gray shirt is last year’s inaugural Sunset Run shirt. Joe will wear long sleeves and long pants because his immune system is weak, and even a mosquito bite causes great discomfort.
The Rowan Regional Medical Center Half Mile Fun Run will take place at 7:30, starting at Main and Bank. Fun runners will run out and back on Bank Street, with the turnaround at the intersection near Fulton Street. All fun runners will receive a finisher’s medal and a t-shirt.
The 5K will start on Brick Street, and proceed down Fisher Street, turn right on Old Concord, and right again on Bank Street. The course turns left on Main Street, passing the 1 mile mark on the way to Fulton Street. After a right onto Fulton, the runners will continue past mile 2 to another right on Fisher Street, a right again on Church Street, and a left on Bank once again to the finish.
All 5K runners will receive a high quality long sleeve commemorative dri-fit shirt and glow bracelets. They will also be eligible for awards 3 deep in 14 age groups for both males and females. Lots of refreshments are available free to runners and walkers afterwards. Cost is $25 if postmarked by Wednesday or dropped off at the United Way office by Friday at noon, and $30 thereafter. All proceeds will go to the Rowan County United Way. Race forms are available at the Hurley YMCA, South Rowan YMCA, and at Hall Gym, or you can print one at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org
Special N.C. State Championship awards will be presented to first place winners in the race, and first place winners over 40 years of age, 50 years of age, and 60 years of age.
Other activities on Friday evening September 2nd include the United Way Kickoff, Salisbury’s Friday Night Out, and the Soap Box Derby.
Additional sponsors for the races are Cheerwine, Chick-fil-A, Rowan Visitors Bureau, Downtown Salisbury, City of Salisbury, Food Lion, Kluttz Reamer Law Firm, Sportrax, and the Salisbury Rowan Runners. Registration is available at the United Way office on Jake Alexander, at www.active.com, and at the race. Race day registration will be available in the Empire Hotel building at 212 South Main Street beginning at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, go to www.salisburyrowanrunners.org or call 704-310-6741.

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