Start training for April’s Diploma Dash 5K

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The first Wilson County Schools Diploma Dash 5K is scheduled for April 8 at 9 a.m., starting and ending at the Wilson County Recreation Center, 500 Sunset Road.

Participants of all ages and fitness levels are encouraged to take part in the event to benefit Wilson County Schools staff, students and parents in promoting healthy lifestyles and fitness in the local community. Participants are invited to walk or run through the course to receive a “diploma” at the finish line, and medals will be awarded to the top three male/female finishers in each age group.

Amber Lynch, public relations director with Wilson County Schools, is arranging the event, sponsored by Brewmasters and Tate Design Group.

“Our 5Ks are a great way to come together as a community and support our students,” she said. “It’s awesome to see all the different groups come out: students who are in running clubs at our schools, families with strollers, running enthusiasts with all the right gear, groups of teachers in matching school shirts, and community members of all ages.

“The energy is contagious, and there is nothing like the looks on the participants’ faces when they cross the finish line!” she said.

The Diploma Dash is the fifth 5K supporting Wilson County Schools. Since the 2014-2015 school year, the county school system has held a 5K in the fall and one in the spring. In 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, the themes for the 5K’s featured color runs and glow runs.

This school year, the theme for the 5K in October marked the first Halloween Hustle, which was very successful.

“The concept of the Diploma Dash is that as our walkers/runners make their way through the course, they will pass signs along the way showing them that they are now in kindergarten, first grade, second grade and so on,” Lynch said. “The signs will include something that they accomplished in that grade. For example, third grade, ‘You learned about the solar system!’; 10th grade, ‘You completed driver’s education!

“When they cross the finish line, they will be handed a ‘diploma’ for completing the 5K.”

The 5K is open to anyone who would like to register online with all proceeds supporting health and wellness programs in Wilson County schools.

Individuals can register online at www.wilsonschoolsnc.net. The cost is $20 per person or $15 for WCS students and staff. Children 6 years and younger can participate for free. Teams are also encouraged, and students can dress to show their school spirit.

Registration includes a T-shirt. Pre-registration ends April 7. Late registration may be made after that day with an increase in cost of $5 per person. Kids 6 years and under can still participate for free.

Lynch said that the company Run the East makes the 5K top notch by handling the registration process, race bibs and timing of all the participants for a nominal fee to the school system. Race packets may be picked up on race day.

“It takes a lot of volunteers the day of the race, and my assistant Maritza Johnson and I are always so appreciative of the Wilson Youth Council and the Fike High National Honors Society students who assist with registration and also cheer on everyone at the finish line,” Lynch said. “It’s such a fun event, and I hope everyone will come out and walk, stroll, jog and run with us!”

The 5K will take place rain or shine.

Contact Amber Lynch at amber.lynch@wilsonschoolsnc.net with questions.