Cooperative promotes health, literacy at 5K race

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By The Staff

Some 126 runners and walkers gathered in front of the Carole Ray Dowling Center on May 8 to compete in the Lancaster Area Literacy Cooperative (LALC) 5K Race for Literacy. The race was part of the Red Rose Festival.

Many participants were from the Lancaster area, but others came from surrounding South Carolina counties and from North Carolina to take part in the event.

Wylie Penegar of Lancaster finished first in the men’s division with a time of 18 minutes and 13 seconds. Caleb Barnes of Concord, N.C., came in second for the men, and Mark Barrett of Columbia came in third.

Brandy Barrett of Charlotte came in first in the women’s division with a time of 23 minutes and 58 seconds. Bettie Johnson of Fort Mill came in second for the women, and Tyson Blanton of Lancaster came in third.

The runners and walkers entered for a variety reasons. Some were seasoned runners, who came simply for the running aspect of the event. Others were new to the running world, but saw competing in the race as a personal health goal. Still others came for a different reason: they wanted to help LALC promote literacy in the Lancaster area.

For Melanie Endres, a teacher in Fort Mill, this race was about more than improving her own health.

“I run 5K’s all the time, but, you know, it’s a race for literacy and I’m a teacher, and it just seemed like the appropriate race for me to run,” she said.

Amanda Truesdale, an employee at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster, was also attracted to the literacy component of the race.

“Reading is very important,” Truesdale said. “I have two kids of my own, and I think [the race] is for a good cause.”

2010 marked the first year for the LALC 5K Race for Literacy, and the organization was very pleased with the results.

“My agenda for this race was to do something that would further raise awareness about the cooperative and literacy in general, said Kathy Wilkds, LALC executive director. “The race was a fun way to get the community involved.”

The cooperative wanted to promote literacy through the race by showing the community that literacy is about more than simply being able to read a book.

Literacy is important for good health, for example, being able to read medication or understanding what ingredients are in certain foods.

The 5K Race for Literacy wasn’t the only event the LALC took part in on May 8. The cooperative also helped with the Family Literacy Fair, which was held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Lancaster County Library.

On that same day, festival-goers were also able to receive a free book from the Big Book Giveaway at its  Second Glance, Second Chance Bookshop at 105 West Dunlap St. More than 1,000 books were given away.

Even though the turnout was not as expected, the festival organizers said they were pleased with their first effort. There were numerous events going on that weekend, including USCL graduation.

Monique Patterson of Christian Services considered the fesival “absolutely” successful.