Before an evening of barbecue and fireworks to celebrate the nation’s independence and birthday, runners, representing various states, participated in the fourth-annual Halifax Health Team RWB Firecracker 4 Mile, 10 Mile & Virtual Race Saturday, July 4, on Daytona Beach.
“When we started this race four years ago, we had 150 people; today, we have about 600,” said Lani Faulkner, the Daytona Beach chapter captain of RWB and president of the Daytona Track Club. “We grew the virtual site, and today we have 2,200 people around the U.S. running this race. We were shooting to earn $50,000 for our team, and I’m pretty sure we’ve reached, and even exceeded, that. I can’t tell you how many words I’ve heard out here, feeling the patriotism, being a part of something that’s giving back to the veterans, which is our mission.”
Runners and supporters flooded the beach shore with patriotic clothing while some chose to take the nation’s flag with them on the patriotic run.
Also, in attendance, was Chris Klitch, along with her husband, Bill, who was the honorary starter for the two races. Klitch is a stroke survivor, who has, now, dedicated her life to helping other survivors.
“I worked in the emergency room since 1973, and being a nurse, I never thought it would happen to me,” Klitch said. “But, I’m still working and helping other people. I’m able to tell them that life goes on after a stroke.” Klitch is the head of the stroke support group at Halifax Health.
Once the runners finished, they were met with medals, T-shirts and water, and they were also fed refreshments from Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme and other local food places.
“The best thing about this is knowing that people came out here on their holiday and gave some time, their time, to support this awesome cause,” Faulkner concluded.
Top local finishers: In the four-mile run, local finishers to finish in the Top 50 include: Joe Ventura, second; John Dodd, third; Alyssa Bayliff, fourth; Ken Klein, eighth; Naomi Ventura, 12th; Jeff Goldman, 22nd; Shawn Baldwin, 24th; Terribeth Smith, 25th; Sara Dean, 30th; John May 37th; Heather Shourds, 39th.
Those who finished in the Top 50 in the 10-mile race were: Kevin Griffin, fourth; Joshua Sadler, ninth; Kirby Ezelle, 13th; Alessandra Buenner, 28th; Josie Gray, 30th; Kristine Gray, 37th; Lea Gray, 37th; Christopher Ewart, 44th.