Memories of Ed Dupree highlight his memorial 5K
Ed Dupree loved running and racing, and he loved people. On Saturday, Dupree’s presence was felt throughout the Ed Dupree 5K Memorial Run for Hospice. Dupree passed away at Rowan Hospice and Palliative Care this past November after many years of competition and promoting all things running. Dupree garnered national attention for his consecutive daily running streak that surpassed 23 years and notoriety as a long-time sportswriter for the Salisbury Post.
On Saturday morning, friends, family, other runners and walkers battled high humidity and intermittent rain at East Rowan High School and on area roads. Overall winner Michael Vestal said, “My wife got me into running last year after many years away from the sport. We both enjoyed running and decided to enter a couple of races. That is when I realized how much I missed the competition. I met Mr. Dupree through golf at McCanless Golf Club and did not know at the time of his love for running or his contributions to running in Rowan County. I’m honored to have won the Ed Dupree Memorial.” Vestal’s winning time was 21 minutes and 1 second.
Emberleigh Pauley-Brown paced the women’s race in 23:03. She said, “Today’s race course was fun! I really liked how smooth it was and going through the beautiful neighborhood with all the big trees. It gave me a sense of peace as I was running and I liked the two loops because it was pretty flat and everyone did a great job directing us.” It was fitting that Pauley-Brown is 11 years old and symbolized Dupree’s long association with youth running as coach of the Faith Flyers. Many local runners had been inspired not only by Dupree’s efforts to coach them but the fact that he stayed in contact during their later lives and followed any further competitive efforts.
But others, like Dupree’s cousin, Mike Daniel, came just to be a part of the event. He said, “I didn’t know “Pud” really well until we began talking about running. When we found out about our mutual interest, then we had plenty to say. He would have liked this event.”
Long-time Dupree friend and training partner Wayne Crowder came to work the race. He said, “Ed would have been humbled, honored and happy to see fellow runners on the same track that he ran hundreds of miles on for a worthy cause!”
Other family members on hand included daughter and race director Allison Dupree Adams, Ed’s wife Bitsy and son, Brett. Bitsy Dupree said, “We plan to continue this event and make it better each year. Next year’s race will be held on Ed’s birthday, May 18. I know he was here today.” Proceeds benefit Hospice and the Ed Dupree Scholarship Fund at East Rowan High School.
Allison Adams ran the race and took second place in her age group. She added, “I think everything went very well this morning. Dad would have been very proud of the turnout. We had walkers, runners and spectators who were very dear to Dad’s heart come out. There were so many people present today whom Dad had an impact on their life in some way. His memory and his presence were definitely felt.”
Ed Dupree’s grandsons, Frank and Drew Adams, at age 4 and 2, ran the fun run and showed the famous Dupree determination as they had no trouble with the half-mile distance while smiling the whole way. Their parents, including Allison and Frank Adams, and Brett Dupree and Maggie Will, all ran the 5K race.
Sponsors for the event included F&M bank, Power Curbers, The Forum, Salisbury Rowan Runners, Cozart Lumber, Crossroads Autobody, Holy Trinity by the Lake Church, McCanless Golf Club, App Sees Early Childhood Education, A & L Mini Mart and Salisbury Community Foundation.
Another long-time Dupree friend, East Rowan cross country and track coach Rick Roseman, said, “The humidity, the misty rain, the clouds, the downpours and then the sun were all Ed’s way of giving us almost all the elements he experienced in his years of running.” Erwin Middle School basketball coach Kim Caldwell added, “The downpours came just when Ed couldn’t hold back the tears anymore.”
Complete results can be found at www.salisbuyrowanrunners.org