As temperatures climbed up into the lower 90s Saturday, many people came down to the Elkin Municipal Park to cool off in the second annual Foothills 5K Wet Run. Runners got a chance to enjoy a refreshing race through fire hoses, water guns and sprinklers as they ran to support the providing of clean drinking water and a well in Guatemala.
“The water was great,” said Cindy and Seth Wilson. “This is our first time doing the wet run. I loved it, because it’s close to home and you can get wet.”
Runners took part in a 5K race that took them through the park, along the trails, and even into downtown Elkin. Along the way volunteers kept the runners cool with water guns, hoses and even spraying fans set up along the trail. At the start of the race, one of the town’s fire trucks showered people near the trail-head. Pumps were hooked up to the creek to pump out water into hoses to spray runners. At the end of the race, runners got to slide down the grand finale — a four-story water slide.
“The reason I wanted to do that route was because it shows every beautiful part of Elkin, including the new trail, the park and the downtown,” said Ben Crosswhite, owner of Crosswhite Fitness.
Runners were not the only ones participating in the race. Five police officers did a journey carrying a blue telephone pole. Inscribed on the pole were the names of officers who were killed in service in the past year. It was a tough journey but as they approached the finish-line the officers held the pole above their heads.
After the run, guests pulled out their lawn chairs and huddled under the shade of the park’s trees to enjoy an outdoor concert featuring Michael Tait from NewsBoys and Charles Billingsley. An inflatable bounce house and obstacle course also were open for kids to play. Sandwiches were sold for $3 with all proceeds going to raise money for the well in Guatemala.
This is the second time Elkin has held the Foothills Wet Run and the numbers have grown. According to Crosswhite, last year the race had 96 racers. This year that number rose to 127.
“Check-in went well. We had a lot of people come in to sign up after pre-registration,” said Hunter Sherman.
While many residents of Elkin and Jonesville ran the 5K, the event also drew in people from outside the area.
“We put up billboards on 77 and 421 and advertised on news in Charlotte and Winston-Salem,” said Crosswhite. “We wanted to have people who’ve never heard of Elkin so they can come and see the beauty of the town and it’s small community.”
Despite only being the second year of the run, the event has received a lot of positive feedback from the runners.
“I live here in Jonesville and I run up here quite a bit,” said Joel Davis. “Me and my daughter ran the race and we’ve had a good time. Glad they had the water out on a hot day like today and we’ve been on the water slide a few times. It’s been good stuff. Everybody I know has had fun and we look forward to coming back next year.”
“It’s a wonderful event. It’s my first time doing it,” said Carol Minotti. “Our friends Ben and Amanda Crosswhite are running this so that’s probably my favorite thing and we just wanted to come out and support them. Giving water to third-world countries is a wonderful cause. I got my whole family to come and run to support it.”
“The motivation that they incorporate into the run is great,” said Cristina Minotti. “They were having a lot of fun. I’ve never done a wet run before and I thought it was excellent. I’m very grateful for all of the work they’ve put into it. I love that we’re able to support people who are underprivileged and unable to get clean water.”
Ben Crosswhite is a native of Elkin. He studied at Liberty University in Virginia where he started out as a biology major in pre-med. Knowing that God had a different direction for him, he began personal training in fitness, opened his own fitness center and an athletic club. The clean water project in Guatemala is close to his heart. He and his wife visit the country once a year and donate wells to help provide clean water.
“I love and miss Elkin,” said Crosswhite. “Not living here anymore, I wanted to come back and use my connections to give back to the community. This is a community and Christian event where we spread the love of Christ and pull people together. I’ve loved the community spirit and the small-town vibe in Elkin and there are not many cities that have a park and a nature trail close to downtown. It’s the jewel of North Carolina.”
Crosswhite hopes that the event will continue to grow in the future.
“Within the next few years I’d like to see a thousand racers,” said Crosswhite. “I would love to continue to grow the event and grow the numbers every year. There are not many races where you get sprayed by a fire truck or you go down a water slide at the very end. It’s a fun event and hopefully every year we will add something new to it and make it better.”
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.