Three beauty queens, a number of us aging warriors, David and Barbara Borden, their 8-month-old grandson Tripper, along with members of their family and extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and supporters, will be walking in the parade this year to herald the fourth annual 5K Hero Run to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. It will be in downtown Kennesaw in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 3.
The run was formerly called the Run for Wounded Warriors, but because of the liability of using their name without their control, the folks at the Wounded Warrior Project asked us to refrain from doing so. The name Hero Run was chosen because it accurately reflects the character of our people in uniform, be it military, police or firefighters.
Readers may remember that this run started as the brainchild of young Jon Borden, then a student at Kennesaw Mountain High School, who, after watching a television special on the work of the Wounded Warrior Project, decided to do something to help. He arrived at the idea of a run to raise funds. His parents embraced the idea, and the first run was held in downtown Marietta, four years ago, with about 300 runners.
The next year it moved to Kennesaw. The number of runners has increased significantly over the past two years with over 2,100 participating last year, and 2,500 plus projected for this year. In three years, the run has provided $32,500 to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Though not related to this branch of the Borden family, I have been blessed to be part of this effort from the first run, and am constantly awed by the spirit of sacrifice exhibited by those who give of their time and talent in support of our men and women in uniform.
Last year, I approached a friend of mine, a beautiful and talented lady, busily building a music career, to see if she would possibly be able to spare the time to open our run by singing the National Anthem. I had heard Angela Reign sing it and fell in love with her singular ability to render it beautifully and purely.
Her response was overwhelming. Not only did she open the run with the National Anthem, she brought her entire band and performed a concert after the race, to the delight of all present.
Her career has blossomed and she was named Best Female Country Artist of the Year at the Georgia Music Awards. Despite her success, or probably because of it, she is looking forward to opening our run once again and to performing for the crowd afterwards. This marvelous lady and her selfless organization are credits to our county and our country.
We are also proud to welcome back, for the second year, the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a Civil War re-enactor group, to provide the starting gun. Their Fife and Drum Corps will provide inspiration to our runners as they pass. Colors will be presented, as they have for the past three years, by the Kennesaw Mountain High School Junior ROTC.
Following the run and the concert by Angela Reign, there will be an exhibition by the Cobb County K-9 Unit. The awards ceremony will follow, with awards being given for overall champions in running divisions and awards for winners in various age groups. After all these festivities there will be an After Party in downtown Kennesaw.
This year, we have, as honored guests, seven members of the military, wounded warriors if you will. Friday, they will be treated to special tours of the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coke. They will be guests for dinner, provided by Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Rooms and accommodations are being graciously provided by Embassy Suites. Following the race and ceremonies, the legendary Trackside Grill will provide lunch for them.
Wanna be a part of this fabulous endeavor? Runners can register online at www.active.com, or if you want to volunteer to help or become a financial sponsor, do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One way or another, we hope to see you in downtown Kennesaw on Aug. 3.
Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor in east Cobb.