5K to honor wounded veterans

Published 12:43 am Sunday, June 30, 2013

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — It’s a bird, it’s a plane — No, it’s Superman racing down the street joined by fellow superheroes and civilians as they hit the pavement early for a good cause.

The gun is set to fire for the superhero-themed Be A Hero 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 6, on Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard in Huntington, W.Va. Corey Clark, race organizer and Marine Corps veteran, said it has been a task to build the foundation for the event, but with nearly 300 people already registered, he said it’s shaping up to be a successful race.

“My goal was 250 in the beginning, and I thought that was pushing it,” Clark said. “But here we are, 10 days out at almost 300 and most races get a huge surge of people a day or two before the race.”

While costumes are not required, Clark said they are encouraged.

Clark said if things pick up toward the end as expected, it is possible the race may break 400 runners. He said this is a huge deal for the first-time race and goes a long way in proving the community’s strong support for veterans.

Profits will go to the race’s charity, Wounded Wear. The non-profit, created by Lt. Jason Redman, combat-wounded Navy S.E.A.L., creates clothing and gear more easily wearable by wounded veterans. Clark said Wounded Wear’s mission helped inspire the race’s theme.

“When I talked to Pat from Tri-State Racers, he told me there are a lot of good causes out there and I needed something to set this race apart from others,” Clark said. “I took the slogan, and after talking with John from Heroes 4 Higher, everything just fell into place.”

Clark said he was thankful to John Buckland, whose company seeks to inspire children to find their hero within, for being the first sponsor to jump on board and help build the race from the ground up.

Buckland, an Air Force brat who spent time in Iraq as a Department of Defense firefighter, said when he heard about this he knew it was something he wanted to be a part of.

“I thought this race was a perfect fit with our mission of heroes,” Buckland said. “Seriously, we all love the Fourth of July, but we wouldn’t have this day without veterans and I want to see everyone pour their hearts into this race and come out just two days after Independence Day to show their support for our nation’s heroes.”

Clark said he is still amazed at how everything fell into place for the race. He said he knew he wanted to run the West Virginia 5K Championship course, which happens to be on Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard and the first available date that worked was two days after the Fourth of July — he said he really could not have planned it better.

Hershel “Woody” Williams, WWII veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient is scheduled as guest speaker for the event and will assist during the award ceremony after the race.

Anyone seeking more information on the race can go to www.tristateracer.com and click on the Be A Hero 5K Run/Walk’s link. Clark said he wants to highlight that the first 200 active duty military and veterans to sign up online can register for $.01. He said there are still slots available for the deal.