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North and South courses mapped out for Keller Williams March for Kids' Health

March 24, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Maya Drabczyk crests the hill en-route to victory Saturday at the Keller Williams March for Kids' Health races.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

The North and the South collided at Antietam National Battlefield 150 years ago.

Saturday, the two crossed paths again.

This time, secession and slavery were not at issue, and North and South were not forces battling against one another. They were courses mapped out along the battlefield for a 5K race, North representing fitness and South representing fun, at the Keller Williams March for Kids’ Health.

Susan Reichel of Keller Williams, who co-directed the race with Lisa Kingsbury, said she had borrowed the idea of North and South courses from the Gettysburg North-South Marathon and tweaked it for the March for Kids’ Health.

“We did it just for fun since we are at the battlefield,” Reichel said.

All of the runners had the same start. They split off onto diverging North and South courses and ran separately, met up and split up again, then returned to the same finish line.

Reichel and Kingsbury had each been “not fit” at various points in their lives, Reichel said. Now, they are both runners.

Keller Williams does philanthropic work regularly. Realizing the importance of promoting an active lifestyle, Reichel and Kingsbury brainstormed the idea of a 5K to promote kids’ health.

“We said it in front of a bunch of people and they held it to us,” Reichel said.

Around 150 runners along with a crowd of supporters attended the event. Reichel had expected around 300 runners, but rainy weather put a damper on attendance, she said.

Darren Grove, 37, of Chambersburg, Pa., ran the race with his daughter, Emma. Though she is only 8 years old, Emma already has run a number of 5Ks. She likes getting commemorative T-shirts, Grove said. His goal for his daughter is slightly more ambitious.

“I’m just trying to get her working up to be a little faster each time — under 32 minutes,” he said.

Rene Donley, 43, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., ran since high school, then took a break when she had her sons, Tyler and Trevor, now 10 and 6. She started running again a couple of years ago, but Saturday’s 5K was the first race that she persuaded her family, including her husband Shannon, 48, to run with her.

“They love Civil War stuff,” Rene Donley said. “With it being at Antietam, I knew they would love it. It helped me recruit them.”

Both boys said they were “pretty pumped up.” Trevor had confidence in his father’s ability to run the race because of the way he runs his family’s farm.

“If he can handle a pig, he can handle a 5K,” Trevor said before the race.

Melissa Pfaltzgraff, 34, of Charles Town, W.Va., runs a couple of 5Ks each year and is training for a summer 15K.

“The battlefield is a little hillier than some courses. This is good practice as far as elevation,” she said.

Keller Williams owner and broker Mary Llewellyn said she hoped the first event would raise around $1,500. Reichel said part of the proceeds will go to Tri-State area children who need financial assistance to join sports leagues and buy equipment. A portion will go to KW Cares, a nonprofit organization for Keller Williams associates and their immediate families who have hardships as a result of a sudden emergency.

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