Sunset Run raises money for Special Olympics

by Jul 6, 2012SPORTS di-ne-lv-di-yi0 comments




     It was hot.  It was humid.  But, that didn’t stop the almost 100 runners and walkers who participated in the 2nd Annual 4th of July Sunset Race 5K and Fun Run on Wednesday, July 4. 

Tony Wolfe, a member of the Qualla Boundary Special Olympics team, runs in the Fun Run portion of the Sunset Run 5K and Fun Run held in Cherokee on Wednesday, July 4. The event was a fundraiser for the Qualla Boundary Special Olympics program. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

     The event, hosted by the Cherokee Runners, was a fundraiser for the Qualla Boundary Special Olympics program and featured a one-mile Fun Run and a 5K run/walk through the streets of Cherokee.  Both the Fun Run and the 5K began and ended at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds.    

     “The Special Olympics supports and encourages fitness,” said Gerri Grady of the Cherokee Runners.  “We have a really great Special Olympics here in Cherokee that Lana Lambert oversees.  Without her hard work and commitment, the people that the Qualla Boundary Special Olympics trains and encourages would have little opportunity for physical fitness.  The Cherokee Runner’s goal is fitness through running or walking, and it is a privilege to support the goals of Qualla Boundary Special Olympics.” 

     Grady added, “We greatly appreciate the safe course patrolled by the Cherokee Indian Police Department, Cherokee Fire Department and Tribal EMS.  Also, the assistance of NCDOT and Cherokee DOT, as well as the Tribal Risk Management Office, ensured a safe event for everyone.”

Joseph Smith, of Cherokee, raises his arms as he crosses the finish line at the 2nd Annual Sunset 5K held in Cherokee on Wednesday, July 2. He took first place in the Male 20-24 age group with a time of 20:33.2.

     Lana Lambert, Qualla Boundary Special Olympics coordinator, said, “The Qualla Boundary Special Olympics program is honored to have been chosen by the Cherokee Runners to have proceeds from the Sunset Race donated to our program.  The donated monies will help fund our fall/winter sports programs including bowling, basketball, cheerleading, and soccer.  We would like to extend our thanks to the Cherokee Runners and everyone who came out to the Sunset Race.” 

     A total of 72 people completed the 5K run/walk with about another 30 completing the Fun Run.  Official timing for the event was kept by Lee Timing, LLC of Morganton.   

     Charlie Myers, of Cherokee, participated in the 5K run, “Everything about the Cherokee Sunset 5K and Fun Run was great!  The Cherokee Runners and other volunteers did an awesome job with this very inclusive and positive race, while including that special ‘Cherokee’ touch.” 

Matthew Climbingbear, of Cherokee, crosses the finish line in sixth place overall with a time of 20:53.3. He took first place in the Male 10-14 age group.

     He went on to say, “The races appealed to a very diverse group of runners and walkers, and I was especially impressed by the participation of younger tribal members and those from the Couch to 5K program.  The race is a great example that each of us can improve our fitness level, and we don’t have to be experts to enjoy and benefit from exercise.  Sometimes, the joy is just in participating!”  

     “Special thanks to Mrs. Swimmer, Mike Thompson and the Remember the Removal riders, and especially, all the volunteers who gave of themselves to benefit the Special Olympics.”  

     It was a fundraiser, but it was still a race as well. 

     Matthew Morse, 24, Asheville, came in first overall in the 5K with a time of 16:26.3.  He was followed by Justin Fortner, 17, Loganville, Ga.; Taylor Streifert, 19, Loganville, Ga.; Michael Anderson, 53, Swannanoa; Joseph Smith, 23, Cherokee; and Matthew Climbingbear, 12, Cherokee. 

     Devona Reed, 12, Whittier, came in 14th overall with a time of 24:21.0 and was the first female across the finish line. 

     Age group division winners were as follows:

Male Open: Matthew Morse 16:26.3

Female Open: Devona Reed 24:21.0

Male Masters: Michael Anderson 19:58.1

Female Masters: Susan Paul 26:50.9

Male 65-69: Gary Wise 34:00.5

Male 60-64: Andrew Smith 27:03.0

Male 55-59: Justin Watson 23:34.9

Male 45-49: Dean Weber 22:43.2

Male 40-44: Bob Walker 21:02.7

Male 35-39: Shawn Earnest 24:10.1

Male 30-34: Tim Swayney 35:30.3

Male 25-29: Mason Gray 23:34.7

Male 20-24: Joseph Smith 20:33.2

Male 15-19: Justin Fortner 18:19.7

Male 10-14: Matthew Climbingbear 20:53.3

Female 60-64: Linda Russell 44:06.1

Female 55-59: Kathi Littlejohn 46:58.5

Female 50-54: Donna Cope 27:28.6

Female 45-49: Kina Armachain 46:49.7

Female 40-44: Alicia Jacobs 32:49.7

Female 35-39: Lindsey Gentry 28:27.4

Female 30-34: Shannon Swimmer 25:25.3

Female 25-29: Sarah Holman 30:37.7

Female 20-24: Julianne Welzien 24:30.7

Female 15-19: Amanda Anderson: 26:07.3

Female 10-14: Katie Jacobs 32:22.5

     For more photos from this event, visit the One Featherphoto gallery at: