12th annual run for angels Saturday
by Bradley Hartsell
On Saturday, the 12th Annual Run for Angels will be headed to downtown Newnan, gathering at the starting line to raise funds for Angel’s House Children’s Shelter.
The 5k/10k race, which functions as a Peachtree Road Race qualifier, encourages teams to come together to run for the cause. Coordinators for the race are hoping many of Coweta’s growing clubs like Moms RUN This Town and the Road Warriors will be on hand for this year’s race.
Started two years ago by Pam Burrus, Moms RUN This Town began as an outlet for moms to connect with other moms to run with each other. The running club phenomenon has spread nationwide, with more than 850 chapters and nearly 11,000 “likes” on Facebook.
Last year, Burrus and others in MRTT participated in the Run for Angels and were awed by Tyler Thompson, the first wheelchair participant in the history of the race. Burrus noticed Thompson was using his regular wheelchair — not one designed for road races.
Burrus awarded Thompson a blue ribbon medal for the wheelchair division, but it wasn’t until she heard that Thompson intended to enter a contest to win a racing wheelchair that it hit her to really take action.
“I immediately recognized Tyler as the man from the Run for Angels race previously and I felt a strong desire to bypass the contest and instead raise the funds to get him the wheelchair,” said Burrus.
Burrus asked her MRTT partners to help Thompson reach his goal of $3,000 for a racing wheelchair, and within 16 hours, she says, the goal had been reached.
“The number didn’t scare me. I knew with the power of social media I could get the funds in no time,” she said.
This year, Burrus and local members of MRTT will again express their love for running while raising funds for Angel’s House.
“Since opening the doors in 2004, Angel’s House has been ‘home’ to 185 children in need of a safe place to live,” said Bambi Edge, Angel’s staff member. “Angel’s House board members and staff are so touched and amazed by the tremendous support of our community and continuing to give to the children of Angel’s House.”
Another group who will line up on the starting line with MRTT on Saturday is Road Warriors East Coast, a chapter extended by Angel Liberg and Rob McBride. The Road Warriors include athletes from Massachusetts to Florida, many of whom stay connected through social media, even though they haven’t met personally.
The East Coast chapter’s second event together was Run for Angels in February 2013. A little over a dozen Road Warriors took part.
“I wanted to take this chapter further and run in memory of Jenna Westerholm, as we do at every group race,” said Liberg. “Jenna was a child of a friend I met at the Army Ten Miler October 2012. I never met Jenna, but her father inspired me to encourage the group to run in her memory.”
Jan. 22 will mark five years since five-and-a-half-year-old Westerholm lost her fight with sarcoma cancer. The East Coast chapter plans to carry a banner with Jenna's picture.
Both groups are excited to participate in one of Newnan’s biggest road races of the year. Last year, more than 800 runners came out to show support of Angel’s House.
“With Run for Angel’s being our only annual fundraiser, the success of this event is essential in keeping our doors open to the community’s children in crisis,” said sponsorship co-chair LouAnn Connell.
“We are very grateful to the businesses, individuals and families who have contributed to our event being a huge success.”