Rowan Regional president runs in 5K
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — Rowan Regional Medical Center President Dari Caldwell welcomed runners from as far away as Texas and West Virginia to the CommYounity 5K Run/Walk and Half Mile Fun Run. Then she joined in to run with them.
Caldwell and her staff at the hospital celebrated Rowan Regional serving the area for 75 years, and continued an ongoing emphasis to improve health and fitness within the community.
Many of her staff joined Caldwell to run or volunteer. More than 200 runners ran a course Saturday that included Mocksville Avenue, the Shober Bridge, Fulton, Innes and Mahaley Streets on a clear and cool morning.
A special finish line celebration concluded the event in Hurley Park where awards were presented to overall, masters and age group winners in the 5K and a half mile Fun Run. Robert Miller from Salisbury won the 5K race after returning to racing from a long layoff.
Miller’s time was 16 minutes and 47 seconds. Miller wasn’t sure how well he could do, but he won comfortably over a good local field.
“I felt really good. I’ve had some injuries and wanted to see if I could go hard. It all went well,” Miller said.
Josh Readling of Salisbury and Adam Cornelius of Rockwell were second and third. Wendy Marchinko of Salisbury topped the women in 21 minutes flat, also with a good margin over second-place finisher Dr. Acquawon Stallworth and third-place Victoria Shadler. Will Koontz won the half-mile Fun Run in 5 minutes and 15 seconds.
Caldwell decided to join the recently completed Beginning Runners Class at the hospital. The eight-week class was offered by the Salisbury Rowan Runners and the city of Salisbury Parks and Recreation.
The goal for all the participants was to complete a 5K, preferably Saturday’s race. She persisted, training as her busy schedule allowed.
“It was hard coming up that hill on Mahaley, but I made it. I thought the hill went on forever. When we crested the hill and crossed over Mocksville, it seemed as if the finish came very quickly. It was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and the farthest that I had run,” Caldwell said.
Rowan Regional Medical Center wanted to do something really special for the 75th anniversary, but officials wanted to involve the whole community.
“We are doing a lot for childhood obesity through our programs, but this event was planned for all ages. Our employees want to be role models for kids and sedentary adults. I was amazed at the number of employees who participated, many who heard that I was going to do this. They probably thought that if she can, then I can, too,” Caldwell said.
When the CommYounity 5K was initially discussed, the planning group asked Caldwell if she would participate.
“How could I not do it? But in the beginning, I could only run past about three houses. I kept training, and each day went just a little farther. Then came the day that I was able to complete a mile without stopping. That was such a special day. It was very satisfying to complete this event. Tremendous support from both inside the hospital and outside too made the Comm-Yunity 5K so wonderful, both for us and the United Way,” Caldwell said.
In-kind sponsors for the event were Cheerwine, Marathon Business Center, the city of Salisbury, and Sportrax. All proceeds will be given to the Rowan County United Way. Timing and results were done by the Salisbury Rowan Runners. Complete results can be found at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org