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At their annual SuperHero 5K Saturday, Child Development Resources once again proved that not all superheroes wear capes.
During the race, hundreds of participants — who the organization refers to as “heroes” — opted for shorts, t-shirts and tennis shoes to beat the heat and run for a good cause.
By 7:30 a.m., the area around the Vineyards of Williamsburg Clubhouse was crowded with over 800 runners, walkers and supporters — all waiting in 88-degree heat to take part in the day’s festivities, including the 3.1-mile race.
Child Development Resources (CDR) serves roughly 1,000 area families, whose children face challenges such as disabilities, developmental delays, poverty and homelessness. By race day, the organization had exceeded its original fundraising goal of $50,000, raising a total of $54,656 dollars.
The event’s top fundraising teams were Branscome ($11,066), Team Parker ($7,830) and Team Adam ($4,420).
Katie Marceron, a member of Team Adam and Adam’s mother said, “We started racing four years ago and we were the top fundraising team every year until this year. We do it because we want to give back to CDR for all they have done for us.”
As early as 7 a.m. racers began picking up their gear and getting ready for the eventful morning that included two races, free drinks and snacks, raffles and awards for the top participants.
The full morning of festivities kicked off with a one-mile fun run/walk for children at 8:30 a.m. Each child who crossed the finish line received a medal, most of whom were decked out in their favorite superhero gear.
As the young racers took their marks, leaned forward and shot off through the course, they were cheered on by hundreds of spectators, including volunteers, friends and family members.
Ben Richard, 10, of Williamsburg ran in the children’s race.
“The race was really fun,” he said. “It was really hot so we made it a competition and at the end we sprinted to get our medals. We were so excited we couldn’t even feel our legs.”
The adult race participants ranged from professional runners, employees of local businesses and CDR families and representatives. According to CDR events coordinator Betsy Edwards, over 450 people participated in the 5K this year, up by more than 100 from last year. She added that despite the hot weather, the race ran smoothly.
“I was so excited about how many people actually came out in the heat,” she said. “People were dressed up, they were excited and were not complaining too much about the weather.”
With the high temperatures, Edwards said the race organizers had to “over prepare for the morning by bringing extra water down to the finish line and wet wash clothes for the runners to soak in afterwards.”
Chris Crowder, 21, of Williamsburg and Taylor Tomlinson, 28, of Yorktown were the top runners in the men’s division. Crowder, a former collegiate cross-country runner at Liberty University, posted a time of 16 minutes, 14 seconds. Second place went to Tomlinson who completed the 5K in 18:40 and third went to Greg Dawson, 50, of Williamsburg with a time of 18:51.
“It feels good to win,” said Crowder, who also won last year. “After a couple of my buddies from high school were always running in the race, I decided to join them. It’s been fun ever since, so I come out every year and do it.”
Thorin Jean, 15, of Williamsburg won the women’s race with a time of 21:28, followed by Emily Huneycutt, 25, of Newport News posting a time of 21:43.
Despite the hot weather, participants and supporters stayed throughout the morning to enjoy a costume contest, bicycle raffles and an awards ceremony. Attendees were also greeted with drinks and snacks for their participation, including Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Chick-Fil-A.
As runners mingled post-race, employees of CDR and event volunteers made sure to remind attendees of what the morning was really about – helping children.
“In general it’s just a fun race and I am so happy to be a part of it,” said Edwards. “Every child we serve is a superhero in our eyes and we are happy to be superheroes for them.”