KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – With an atmosphere of returning to celebrating America’s birthday and getting people out to get some fresh air, the Keystone Heights Freedom 5K road running race will be staged in Keystone Heights on July 4 for those needing a competition overload from Virus related shutdowns of many sporting events.
“It’s time for us to get back to normal and I wanted to do something to celebrate the Nation’s birthday; it’s that important to the country, let alone this wonderful community,” said Freedom 5K race director Kerry Collins, a lifetime Keystone Heights resident including graduating from Keystone Heights High School. “I understand that some people may be hesitant and if they are uncomfortable with coming out, then stay home. This has been such a great part of this community for a long time and I wanted to start it back up.”
With 84 entrants in the 2017 version of the race, then called the Our Country Day 5K, the last time the event was staged mainly because of sponsorship changes, Collins took it upon herself to resurrect the event. The Keystone Heights Kiwanis Club was a long-time sponsor.
“We have a non-profit that gives out scholarship money to Keystone Heights High grads; the Jordan Cooper Memorial Foundation, and this event needed a cause,” said Collins, noting Jordan Cooper was a Keystone Heights High gifted student graduate in 2012 that passed away in 2017 at the age of 25.
“We’ve given out four scholarships the past few years to local kids that maybe needed a little help to get to college,” said Collins.
With a handful of noted runners from the area, including U.S. Olympic Trials Marathoner Enoch Nadler, also a Keystone Heights High graduate, Collins is optimistically hoping for another 100 runners, but may get a surge past that if lucky.
“I know a lot of the races usually run on July 4 are not being run so, if we get a big race, it would be wonderful,” said Collins. “I know Enoch’s brother and he is one of our race sponsors. That would be exciting.”
Collins also made an invite to Eden and Grace Meyer, two standout runners at Providence High and University of North Florida with Eden now a professional runner out of Atlanta and a recent third place finisher at the Gate River Run 15K, the last major race in the USA before the pandemic.
“Our families go to church together,” said Collins. “I invited them because we are friends.”
Link to race: (https://runsignup.com/Race/FL/KeystoneHeights/4thofJulyFreedom5k) also on floridaraceday.com, the race timing company that will be offering free photos at the finish line.