Mayor-a-thon near start line

By Ryan Cornell

Lace up those Asics and start pounding the pavement, because Mount Jackson’s first ever Mayor-a-thon is coming up quickly.

A 5K race scheduled for Oct. 11, the Mayor-a-thon will start and end at the Lions Club Park and will wind through the town.

While Mount Jackson Mayor Bucky Miller was running for office earlier this spring, he came up with the idea of running for a good cause. Miller, who is organizing the Mayor-a-thon, was searching for a way to give back to the community and thought about using proceeds from a race to fund a local student’s scholarship.

When one of his classmates unexpectedly died, he saw an opportunity to help out.

Sarah (Johnston) Defren, who graduated with Miller from Stonewall Jackson High School in 1994, died this May at age 38. Seconds after finishing a half-marathon in Frederick, Maryland, she suffered a heart attack and slipped into a two-day coma.

“She was a runner and it just clicked to do a Mayor-a-thon, to do this 5K for her,” Miller said. “…She was just a good person.”

The race will be held on the Saturday of both Mount Jackson’s [Fall] Festival weekend and Stonewall Jackson’s homecoming weekend.

“I figured this was the best time to do it,” he said. “A lot of people are coming back into town for the 20th-year reunion, a lot of people coming from her class.”

Registration for the 5K is $35 per person. The fee includes admission to run or walk in the race and a T-shirt.

Money from the entry fees and sponsorships will fund the expenses, and all proceeds will support a trust fund for her children.

A novelty check will be presented to Defren’s husband and family at a ceremony following the race.

Race-day registration begins at 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 11. A welcome ceremony will be held at 7:45 a.m. and the race will begin at 8 a.m. Miller said the closing ceremony, which will be held 15 minutes after the last participant crosses the finish line, will probably be held between 9:30 and 10 a.m.

He said 11 people have registered for the race since registration began on Friday.

“I’d really like to see at least 200 people at the event,” he said. “Because I’d really like to present a huge check to the family.”

Miller said more volunteers and sponsors are needed.

Because the race route won’t cross any main roads, he said there is no need for the town to close any roads for the event.

He added that the annual Mayor-a-thon race will benefit a different cause in the Mount Jackson area each year.

To register for Mayor-a-thon 2014, visit http://bit.ly/1lGCnec

For more information about Mayor-a-thon 2014, visit the event’s Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1rgQGWD

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com