ELKINS - Elkins High School alums of all ages, and their family and friends, are invited to come help launch a new Forest Festival weekend tradition: the Fat Guy & Fry 5K Run at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 at River Bend and Glendale parks. Runners and walkers are asked to arrive by 8:30 a.m.
The run, which is not associated with the official Forest Festival 10K Run & Walk, is free and open to runners and walkers at all skill and fitness levels. No registration is required and, in keeping with the casual vibe of the event, the run will not be timed and no prizes will be awarded.
The run is organized by Brian Jones and Jamie Fry, both 1986 graduates of the Elkins High, as a fun and fit way to bring together their classmates and old friends, including those making their annual return pilgrimage to Elkins to take in the Mountain State Forest Festival.
A post-race gathering will be held, beginning after the Forest Festival grand feature parade, at Bella's River Grill in Bowden. A cash bar and dinner will be available and "Tiki Hut" Dan Dilettoso will provide live music with a karaoke twist.
Jones, who resides in Lexington, Ky., and plans to walk the 5K course, suffered a serious accident in 2011 when he fell off a roof and broke both his legs. His doctors told him he likely would never walk again. Drawing on the strength of his family and friends, he not only regained full mobility but also took up weight training and became a competitive powerlifter.
Jones came up with the idea for the run as a way to reconnect with his many former classmates and friends in and from Elkins who supported him through his recovery and rehabilitation, and who continue to inspire him every day. He also wanted to help motivate those looking to get active or to get back into exercise after an extended layoff.
The race will welcome casual walkers up through competitive runners. Among those who have already committed to participate are several local Elkins High alums as well as those living in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and many other parts of the country.
For more information on the run, check out the Fat Guy & Fry 1st Annual Forest Festival 5K Reunion Run page on Facebook, or e-mail Brian Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.