ROCKINGHAM — Nearly two dozen local racers met at Hinson Lake on Saturday morning to compete in the inaugural “Cheer Fun Run 5K.”
Organized by the Raider Cheer Moms, a nonprofit organization aimed at raising funds to support the Richmond Senior High School cheerleading program, the first-time event was deemed a success by lead organizer Melinda Murphy.
“We are extremely grateful for all who participated and showed up,” Murphy, whose daughter Ashley Murphy is on the junior varsity team, said. “With it being the beginning of the week of July Fourth, I think we did pretty good. Our sponsorships were extremely beneficial and we came pretty close to our (desired) goal.
“With the money raised so far, we are approximately a third of the way to our goal,” she added. “That’s so we can afford to send our varsity and JV squads to the UNC Chapel Hill cheer camp in August, along with a myriad of other things the teams need.
With a balanced mixture of male and female runners competing, it was Chip Long and Kaitlyn Huff who topped the male and female finishers, respectively. Huff finished with a time of 24:51, making it her second 5K win in the last two months. On April 14, she won the Run for the Ribbons 5K in Rockingham with a time of 22:47.
Long not only won the event outright with a time of 20:08, but he also set the Hinson Lake 5K course record in the process. Taking second and third place, respectively, in the men’s race were Vernon Grant and Mark Long. Jennifer Burr (second place) and Rachael Jarrell (third place) topped the women’s standings.
Helping out with the official time keeping of the race was Vac & Dash from Ablemarle, N.C., and Murphy said their “help and guidance” made the 5K a success.
As Murphy explained, the RSHS cheerleading team is funded solely on fundraisers and donations. While the racers were making their 3.1-mile trek around the lake, roughly 25 of the varsity, junior varsity and ninth grade cheerleaders lined the course to cheer them on.
“We had a lot of positive feedback from the girls who were staged throughout the course,” Murphy said. “And all of the runners who commented said they really enjoyed it and that it offered a positive experience.
“The 5K helped incorporate our girls into the community by allowing them to give back the support they received from the runners and sponsors,” she continued. “I hope to encourage more involvement moving forward.”
On top of going to the UNC camp later this summer, Murphy said the Richmond cheer teams are looking to raise money to buy new uniforms and tumbling mats. One of the biggest fundraisers is yet to come, as the annual RSHS cheer camp is set for July 22 through July 25 at the high school.
Still on sale are $5 raffle tickets, which also will be used to benefit the team, and they’ll remain on sale until the final day of Richmond’s camp. The top prize is a RealTree 60 quart cooler, followed by four other smaller prizes.
“I would like to give special thanks to the other cheer parents who have gone out with their kids and really helped raise money,” Murphy said. “And to those who were able to show up and help with the 5K.
“I also want to thank the community as a whole for its support,” she closed. “Our local businesses have come through for our girls and we are extremely grateful and hope we make them proud to sponsor us.”