Rotary Club hosts new 5K race from Granger Park

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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A new tradition began on Saturday morning with the Rotary Club’s “Running for Rotary” 5k.

LaGrange Rotary Club held a 5k (3.1 mile) race to support the local club’s efforts to boost literacy in the LaGrange and Troup County community. All proceeds from the event will go directly to local literacy efforts.

Club President Tripp Penn said the club plans to hold the run/walk each year moving forward as they transition away from the Rotary golf tournament as their big annual fundraiser. The club believes the race will bring in a wider and more diverse audience than the golf tournament.

The race started and ended at the track in Granger Park. Participants ran and walked the five-kilometer route along the streets of LaGrange using parts of The Thread.

LaGrange High student Collier Baker, 15, won the race with a time of 19 minutes and 14 seconds, easily besting the second-place finisher by a full minute. Santiago Vasquez, 20, came in second with a time of 20:14 and Collin Hardin earned third with a time of 20:53.

Baker said he and his Granger cross-country teammates joined the race so that they could get some extra practice in for their bye week.

The race serves as a qualifier for the annual Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. Baker said he would like to run in the Peachtree but he has plans to go to the beach that week.

It feels great to win the race though, he said. 

Collier said he has been running cross country since the seventh grade.

Proceeds from the run/walk will go directly to support local causes working to improve youth literacy.

Penn said the club netted about $2,000 from the race, which he said was a big success, especially for the first year. The club believes the race will continue to grow and plan on hosting it again next year.

The race also hit one of the club’s goals of creating a fundraiser that appeals to a wider audience. Of the 119 race participants, about 56 percent were female. Penn noted they also had a wide age range participating in the race.

“We definitely plan on continuing the race moving forward,” Penn said.

Penn thanked Rotary Club members Scott Landa and John Harrell for their help in organizing the inaugural race and making it a success.