The race began as a way to support then-East Side Elementary School Principal Josh Wandell in his struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It immediately became a large event, as supporters from East Side and throughout the region participated in the race or the fun walk.
Team Wandell organizes the big event, led by Wandell’s uncle, Kelly Geagley.
“This is the most sponsors we have ever had,” Geagley said. “We have 71 sponsors.”
Geagley said last year there were runners from seven states. Team Wandell keeps working to make the race bigger and better.
Once again, the race will be a 3-kilometer road race and a fun walk. Since it has been the only certified 3K race in the state, all the records for the race are state 3K records. He said there is now one other certified 3K race in the state, but the Race for Wandell is still a good way to claim a state record.
The course is a flat one by Carter County standards, with the out and back along the Doe River. The course begins near East Side School and heads to the Covered Bridge in downtown Elizabethton and then back to the start.
A road race is an appropriate way to support Wandell. He was an avid runner before he came down with ALS. Team Wandell goes with Wandell to long distance races.
Geagley said Team Wandell will not be participating in this race, as Wandell wants to spend as much time with his supporters as he can, especially the children.
The Race for Wandell has always been about more than a race. Geagley said it will once again be a community event, with inflatables, vendors and other activities. One new event will be an auction that will take place during the race. Geagley said Heather Lyons of Beck Mountain Baptist Church is organizing the auction.
“The community really comes together,” Geagley said.
Registration can be made online at http://www.teamwandell.com/registration.