04/01/08 — Road Race is more than just miles

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Road Race is more than just miles

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 1, 2008 1:48 PM

For some, running can be a chore avoided at all costs.

Not so for Farris Duncan, Dave Thomas and Lee Adams. Running continues to serve as a therapeutic teacher of invaluable life lessons for the trio.

Thomas, 70 years young, is a former football coach at Charles B. Aycock and keeps himself in shape by working out at the Goldsboro Family Y. The fear of one day no longer being able to physically do the things he has enjoyed for so long is a huge reason Thomas continues to stay active.

"I feel better when I work out mentally and physically," said Thomas. "I still work out at the Y and I see people coming in there in wheelchairs and maybe they have no legs, or they have canes or artificial legs.

"They really encourage me when I see them and I quit feeling sorry for myself."

Thomas, along with Duncan and Adams, will participate in the annual Sunrise Kiwanis Road Race on Saturday. The event began in 1979 and is the state's oldest road race. Nearly 250 competitors ran last year.

The race will be held at Pedestrian Plaza and features a 10K, 5K walk/run, and a one-mile fun run. Participants can pre-register at www.sunrisekiwanis.org or registration is also available the day of the race at First Baptist Church.

All registration fees and proceeds from the race outside of those used to cover race expenses will be put toward the Kiwanis efforts to better the community.

"The race is a fundraiser for the club but it has also become to a large extent the identity of our club," Duncan a Kiwanis member said. "We had 230 runners last year and we certainly hope to exceed those numbers this year."

With the race on the horizon, the three avid runners have been logging extra miles in preparation for the event.

"At the Y I do preliminaries but I rotate," Thomas said. "One day I swim, one day I do free weights, one day I run and another day I do machines. Then, on Saturday afternoons I do a long run that I normally wouldn't do."

Duncan, Thomas and Adams have each been running for 15 years or more. Duncan has participated in the 10K on 24 occasions.

Adams, 80, became interested in the sport through a friend and has tried his hand at marathons and numerous road races.

"I've always been kind of sports oriented," Adams said. "To me the camaraderie is the biggest thing. Whether we're cramped up or not we're upbeat."

While all three runners admit their finishing times have tapered off over the years one thing that hasn't wavered has been their ability to maintain a sense of humor.

"I used to run the 10K, but I started feeling guilty about making the time keepers have to stick around for so long," chuckled Thomas. "Now, the police who block the streets for us are always glad to see me coming because they know they can get in their cars and leave."