|The start of the first Wilkins Loop Race|
The second annual Wilkins Loop Race will take place on Oct. 19 at Flat Rock Middle School.
Two students – Allie Bagley and Lance Smith – organized the first race as a way to honor Aaron Wilkins, a beloved Flat Rock teacher and athletic director who died in an accident, and to raise money for his family.
In August, 2012, Wilkins died after an accident. He was 35. He and his wife, Debbie, have four young sons - Paul, Brad and twins Joshua and Andrew. More than 200 people participated in the first race held on Nov.10, and it raised more than $3,000 for the family.
Bagley and Smith decided that they wanted to make the race an annual event.
"Right after the first run I knew that it wasn't going to be a one time deal," Bagley said. "I think it's very important to keep the memory of such a great role model alive. Mr. Wilkins would have been leading the run just like he used to at track practice. I just think it's such a special event for everyone who loved him to celebrate his life in such a unique way. His spirit and attitude were so influential. I always try to push myself to be better just like he would with his students whether it's sports, academics, faith, or making wise decisions and just being a better person. That's why I wanted to have a second annual Wilkins Loop - to honor Mr. Wilkins and his family in a unique and special way so that on the day of the run he'll be smiling down on us proudly."
Although it’s called a race, participants are welcome to walk the course, a 2.5 mile trail around the Flat Rock campus that, even before Wilkins died, everyone called the Wilkins Loop. By popular demand, a .6 mile leg has been added for runners to turn the race into a 5K.
This year, the run/walk is being held on Wilkins’ birthday. Bagley and Smith, who are now sophomores at West Forsyth High School, are again organizing the race. Busta Brown from television station WXII will serve as master of ceremonies for the event.
Flat Rock is at 4648 Ebert Road. The suggested donation for students wanting to participate in the run/walk is $5. For adults, it’s $10. Additional contributions and contributions from people who don’t want to run or walk are welcome. On the day of the race, for $10, people can buy a T-shirt commemorating the event designed by Smith’s cousin, Dameatraé Hodge, who is a graphic designer.
You can register the day of the race. Registration will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and the race/walk is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. You can also register beforehand at www.active.com The site does charge a processing fee for online registrations. If you have questions, you may email Adrienne Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org