The 2nd annual Franklin Blue Planet 5k race was a prime display of the community coming together to show their support of a global cause. The Blue Planet Network helps provide safe drinking water through what is known as the Peer Water Exchange where people can review and learn from each other’s work and get funding to start their own clean water projects.
“The event went extremely well, I couldn’t be more pleased,” said Canyon Woodward, the organizer for the race. “The overall support from the community was nothing short of spectacular.”
Hosted by the Franklin High School Interact Club, the running portion of the race began at 9 a.m. at the Tassee Shelter on the Little Tennessee Greenway, followed by a one-mile fun walk/run, with more than 100 participants for both events. Directly after the race, a light brunch was served, which was donated by the Riverblaze Bakery and Jer’s Kitchen. The brunch was followed by an awards ceremony.
It was a close finish for the first and second places in the overall male division. Jeff Howard, 34, of Franklin finished the race in 17.2 minutes. He was quickly followed by Dylan Johnson, 16, of Hayesville who completed the race in 17.22 minutes. The overall male third place was taken by Shawn Marcie, 15, of Franklin who finished the race in 18.25 minutes.
The top female runners were not far behind. Michelle Provost, 18, of Sylva finished the race in 21.04 minutes. Provost was followed by Kristen Trammell, 19, of Robbinsville with a time of 21.24. And third place female was Lindsay Wright, 29, of Franklin with a time of 21.33.
Seventy-nine runners came from all over the surrounding region, including, Franklin, Hayesville, Sylva, Robbinsville, Highlands, Cullowhee, Cashiers, Otto, Waynesville, Clyde, Glenville, Canton, Black Mountain, and even Avon Park, Fla. Not only were there people from all walks of life, but from all age groups as well. Awards were given for eight different age groups. The overall male and female winners received a pair of running shoes donated by Outdoor 76. Other winners from each division won a medal. The youngest runner was Bess Freeman, 13, of Franklin. She ran the race in 31.35 minutes. The oldest participant of the race was Dawson Hunter, 82, of Black Mountain. He finished the race in 38.41 minutes.
As of press time, Woodward was still unsure exactly how much had been raised, however, he guessed that the event at least met, or even exceeded, last year’s results of $5,000.
Woodward expressed his deep appreciation to anyone that was involved in any way. “I’d like to give a huge thank you to the Rotary clubs for making it possible, as well as all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors,” he said.