Turnout doubles for Burton 5K

By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

March 10, 2014

An Elkin High School student organized of a major 5K run in Elkin Municipal Park on Saturday morning to benefit an Elkin man who recently had a kidney transplant.

“I had 136 runners that preregistered,” said student organizer Brandon Welborn. “With that amount, I knew it (the race) was going to be great.”

What Welborn didn’t expect was an approximate 150 runners who showed up in addition to those who registered in advance. Race officials successfully scrambled to get runners inserted into the computer system resulting in a slight delay to the race start time.

“It all came together. I needed to do a senior project for school, but I just wanted to do something for the family. I spoke with Adam (McComb) from the park and he helped get this race approved. I had to go out there and gather sponsors for this event. I passed flyers out. I posted a page onto Facebook. All of this was a lot of work, but it was not about me. It’s about helping out the family,” said Welborn.

Welborn showed no signs of stress though and was often seen with his cell phone in his ear while multi-tasking with coordinators on final details. Welborn said people were still calling about the race.

Welborn said that he learned from his experience that running a race is a serious business.

“Going out there and getting sponsors was not easy. Running the entire race in an organized way has taught me a lot,” said Welborn.

Welborn said that he and other volunteers collected almost $5,000 in contributions.

Gold sponsors were Elkin Parks and Recreation, 100.9 WIFM, Elkin Elementary School, Elkin Middle School, Dr. Lam S. Chu, DDS, Dr. David Cline, DDS, PA, Walmart, and Fairfield Inn and Suites. Silver Sponsors were Classic Designs Screen Printing, Elkin High School, Nu-Line Printing and Photography, Speedy Chef, and Tri-County Awards and Signs. There were 20 additional bronze sponsors.

For the males, Alex Griggs, 21, of Alexander County, won the race with a time of 15:34.

“I’m just happy to keep with my training, but being here for the good cause is awesome,” said Griggs.

Madeline Carter of Elkin High School was the first female to finish the race with a time of 21:23.

“Really good run. I heard about the race at school. It’s a great cause, and great prep for track season,” said Carter.

After expenses are paid out, the proceeds will benefit David Burton, 32, of Elkin, who received a kidney transplant on Dec. 12, 2013. Burton was present for the race and said he was so grateful for all of the community support and for donor awareness.

“My donor saved my life,” said Burton.

Also present was Burton’s kidney donor, Ashley Dean, 29, of Glade Valley.

Burton said he and his donor, who have been family friends for years and are members of the same church, often refer to each other as brother and sister now that the transplant happened.

“Yea, sometimes we fight like siblings. She gets so mad that she asks for her kidney back,” said Burton in laughter.

“Don’t believe him,” said Dean.

Welborn first learned of the Burton transplant situation at his high school. News of Burton’s illness traveled through the school because Burton is married to Amanda Burton, 30, a teacher at Elkin Middle School and former teacher of Welborn.

Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.