ROCK HALL — Rock Hall Elementary School and the Character Counts! program in all of Kent County’s public schools received the lion’s share of proceeds from a 5K run/walk that was held in October in conjunction with the annual FallFest here. Each received $1,500.
Other beneficiaries included the Kent County Learning Center based in Rock Hall and the FallFest itself.
In all, more than $4,000 was dispersed in donations in December.
Peg McHugh, director of the inaugural Run for Character, said the donations were made possible in large part because of the large number of sponsors (33) and an “extremely successful sponsorship drive.”
All but two of the sponsors were Rock Hall businesses.
At the head of the list were sponsors at the $500 and above (Oyster) level, Character Counts! Kent County, Fleetwood Insurance Group, Haven Harbour Marina, The Peoples Bank and the Mainstay, and the $300-$499 (Rockfish) level, Chester River Seafood, Kent County Waterman’s Association, Tom McHugh Chesapeake, Village Hardware and Garden Center and We’re Talking Trash Inc.
The Oct. 12 race drew a field of 74 runners and 40 walkers. Steve Wheeler, 36, of Still Pond led the way in 19 minutes, 53 seconds. The first female to finish, and fifth overall, was Laurie Themistos, 42, of Washington in 21:37.
The first-place walker was Dawn Riggi, 48, of Harrington, Del., who stopped the timer in 35:48. Don Zalenski, 73, of Magnolia, Del., was the runner-up in 37.26.
McHugh deemed the event “a grand success.” She was fifth in the walker division in 44:56.
The 5K run/walk was preceded by a free “Kiddie K” for runners 10 and younger. All Kiddie K finishers received a participation ribbon.
The 5K started and finished at Waterman’s Crab House. The course was altered on race day due to an overnight high tide that made some of the roads impassable.
Awards were presented to the overall male winner and overall female winner of the 5K, as well as the top three place-finishers (male and female) in various age groups. There also were prizes for the top five male and female walkers.
Each participant received a complimentary tech shirt.
TriSports Charitable Events, owned by Ray Parker of Dover, Del., provided the tech shirts, timing and awards. For the past 20 years, TriSports Events has assisted nonprofits raise tens of thousands of dollars.
For the past four years, a 5K run/walk to benefit RHES and Character Counts! was held in conjunction with the Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend in Rock Hall. McHugh, an accomplished runner herself, was the director for the Pirates and Wenches races.
She said she moved the 5K from the Pirates and Wenches Festival in August to the FallFest because her original race management experience was with the FallFest Fun Run for Kids from 2000 to 2010.
“The decision seemed like a natural choice to move a running/walking event back to this festival,” McHugh wrote in an email. “The Rock Hall FallFest is a more family- and community-oriented festival so it was a win-win for runners, walkers and families too.”