Race for Wandell to garner thousands next month

Published 10:20 am Monday, August 15, 2016

Photo Contributed Young members of Team Wandell stand with Josh Wandell showing support.

Photo Contributed
Young members of Team Wandell stand with Josh Wandell showing support.

Dr. Josh Wandell has been an inspirational force across the state, and the area will have another opportunity to ‘Race for Wandell’.
The Elizabethton City Council officially gave the green light for the fourth annual Race for Wandell 3K run and walk, organized by Team Wandell, during their meeting Thursday at City Hall. Race for Wandell will be held Sept. 17.
Each year, the race has been used as a fundraising and means of coming together for Wandell, who was diagnosed with ALS in June 2013.
Since its inception four years ago, the race continues to garner support from the community who have special place in their hearts for Josh, according to Kelly Geagley, Josh’s uncle, who helps spearhead the event.
“This has far surpassed our expectations,” Geagley said. “It just shows what type of community we have here and it great to see everybody that comes out to support Josh.
“We started this race after he was diagnosed with ALS,” Geagley added. “This is our biggest fundraiser and each year, we keep learning on we can make things better for everyone.”
The event is expected to be the biggest ever installment of Race for Wandell, Geagley said, with over 1,000 participants ready to hit the ground running to show their support for Wandell and ALS awareness.
“It is incredible,” he said. “We won’t see that many taking part in the competitive race but each year, we usually get a headcount of 1,000 people.”
Race for Wandell is the only certified 3K race in Tennessee, officially receiving the nod this year, Geagley said.
Attracting participants to be part of history always help, TJ Brown, friend of Josh and active member of team Wandell said.
“I think that’s a great thing,” he said. “You have a chance to attract all these different people who have a chance to break a record, being part of the only sanctioned 3K race in the state.”
Participants looking to join in the competitive race will get the green light at 10 a.m. while the fun run and walk is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m.
Activity for the race will begin at Sunset and Walker Street. The race will go through Central Avenue, move toward Riverside Drive up to East Side School and East Side Free Will Baptist. Participants will then use the linear park walking trail to the Covered Bridge, crossing the river for a second time by using the Elk Avenue Bridge. The race will conclude as runners move through Main Street and finish at East Side Elementary School.
“There’ll be things for everyone,” Geagley said. “We’ve have inflatables, vendors … it is just a great time for everyone to come together.”
Brown added that people the 3K aspect could attract people who may not be used to rigor of longer courses. Adding that while thousands stop by, another added intrigue of the event is the t-shirt created each year. Brown went on to add that this year’s design was created by a resident and is like a comic book strip with Wandell smiling.
“It’s a great design,” he said. Individuals that sign up for the race receive a free t-shirt. To purchase a shirt separately is $20.
The event has 40 sponsors for this year and the race will be professionally timed by RunCorps.
RunCorps recently assisted with a race for Wandell to help garner funds for a new wheelchair to be used for racing.
“We’ve very excited to have them aboard this year,” Geagley said. “They approached us and volunteered to time the race. We are very appreciative of the help for the race this year.”
Race for Wandell is scheduled to conclude around noon.
“I can’t say enough about the support we’ve received,” Geagley said. “It is so great to see the way people support Josh.”
Seeing the support for Wandell is also a sight to see for Brown.
“We just had someone donate their race tickets,” he said. “Six tickets and she said we could sale them for what we could, as long as the money goes back to Josh. It is so great to see all the support in the community for Josh.”
Interested competitors can sign up for the race by visiting teamwandell.com or runsignup.com/Race/TN/Elizabethton/RaceforWandell online. Registration will also available the day of the race, ending at 8 a.m.
Along with passing the measure for the race, the City Council also approved homecoming parade routes for Happy Valley High School and Milligan College during Thursday’s meeting during the communications and special reports portion by City Manager Jerome Kitchens.

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