By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
There were lots of winners on Sunday afternoon at Knox Middle School. Something unusual was in the air. Threatening clouds parted just in time for a benefit 5K for a much loved music teacher called the Run for Tom.
In October, a young runner needed to borrow a pair of running shoes. That young runner was 14-year-old Chance Brown, a versatile athlete who competes at Erwin Middle School. I came to know Chance when he signed up for a several triathlon camps at the East Rowan YMCA. No doubt that Chance was a special athlete, because his signature move was to cross the finish line and do a summersault after winning.
He needed a pair of shoes because he came to the Knights of Columbus 5K at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, but left his shoes at home. That wasn’t a problem because I usually have at least an extra pair of running shoes close by. Sometimes more than one. What was unusual is that the size Chance needed was very close to what I had. He also needed a pair of socks because his were too big, so we sat down on the road and exchanged socks. Then Chance put my shoes on and he was ready to race.
With that race, Chance started a significant run of improving on his best times. He races at least twice a month, and nearly every time he sets a new “personal best.” At Sacred Heart, Chance ran a 19:47. On Sunday at the Run for Tom 5K, he rode the “magic shoes” to a race win and another personal best with a clocking of 18 minutes and 49 seconds for the 3.1 mile course. It was his first overall win, all after running 7 miles, playing tennis and push mowing the yard on Saturday.
“I finally just made him sit down,” His mother, Tammy, said. “He doesn’t like to.”
It has to be the shoes!
Chance said, “I got the lead just as we came off the Greenway, and knew that I needed to push it.”
Chance was able to pull away even more as he rounded the last turn on the Knox track, setting a new personal best by 17 seconds.
Collin Emerson, 15, was second in 18:59 and 11-year- old Andrew Burgess was third in 20:17.
Melissa Orr was the women’s winner in 22 minutes and 2 seconds. Dr. Acquawon Stallworth was second in 23:30 and Audra Perry was third in 25 minutes flat.
Mary Moss Wirt won the fun run in a time of 3 minutes and 51 seconds.
More than 200 runners completed one of the events.
Proceeds will help the Tom Stubbins family make a trip to Disney World. Stubbins is battling pancreatic and liver cancer, but was able to be on hand as the official starter for the race. His wife Nancy and twins Cora and Tommy were also at the race. Race director Laura Zimmerman-Clark thanked those who raced and volunteered for a good cause.
Some shirts remain for sale, and donations for the Stubbins family will be accepted by calling 704-202-6601. Race results are online at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org
By David Freeze