Fifth Annual Race for Wandell goes this Saturday

John Thompson • Sep 19, 2017 at 9:12 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Annual Race for Wandell has become the most popular race in Carter County, with large numbers of runners and walkers in all age groups, but one of the organizers of the race expects the number to be down a little this year because there is just so much going on in Elizabethton on that day.

Kelly Geagley said he isn't concerned about a drop in attendance because there is some unusual competition for the race this year. Geagley is the uncle of Josh Wandell, the avid runner and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient the race is named for.

"I know a lot of our supporters will be in Knoxville this Saturday because the Betsy Band will be marching with the University of Tennessee band," Geagley said. "That is perfectly all right. We know some of those people have always been our biggest supporters so we hope they have a great trip and we welcome them back to our race next year."

In addition to band trip, the race is also competing against a brand new event this year, the BBQ, Blues, and Brews festival at Covered Bridge Park. That event will have its own 5K foot race and 1-mile run at 4 p.m.

Then there will be a full day of activities at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, which will commemorate the 237th anniversary of the gathering of the Overmountain Men for the march to Kings Mountain.

"I know there is a lot going on is weekend, I just hope a lot of people will just get up and run with us before they go to those other things," Geagley said.

The 3K certified road race will begin at East Side Elementary School at 10 a.m. Wandell was serving as principal of the school at the time he was diagnosed with ALS. He continued his role as principal even after he announced he had the disease. His courage and determination won him many admirers in the community who continue to support him in his difficult struggle. His struggle was acknowledged all over town with yard signs expressing prayers for Wandell and proclaiming "Faith over Fear."

The race is an out-and-back course, which takes runners from the school parking lot to the Covered Bridge and on to downtown Elizabethton and back again.

The cost of registering for the competitive 3K race is $30. The cost of the walk is $25. All money raised from the 2017 Race for Wandell goes directly to him for his ongoing medical costs.

For more information and to register, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/TN/Elizabethton/RaceforWandell.

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