‘Just a great family environment’: Runners race for championship while giving back to community

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Runners from across the country made their way to Terre Haute Saturday to take part in a one mile national championship race.

Almost 400 people participated in the Wabash Valley Road Runners Club Fourth of July Race this, but there was a twist. Runners also competed for a national title.

Proceeds from each event event hosted by the Wabash Valley Road Runners are donated to a specific group or organization. The group also awards two scholarships to local students per year.

Michael Dunagan, a 2019 scholarship recipient, returned to take part in this year’s race. He said he noticed a few changes.

“Just a great family environment and I did it last year so my parents convinced me to do it again and just have a little bit of fun out here,” Dunagan said. “This year I think there’s a quite bigger turnout. I think it’s because COVID is finally starting to get closer to the end and I think this year it was definitely a little bit bigger.”

With a national title on the line, runners ages three to 70 set their eyes on the finish line at Indiana State University’s Memorial Stadium.

“We had people from Colorado, Michigan, St. Louis and a few other states that came here just to run our race,” race director Jamie Simpson said. “Wabash Valley Road Runners was benefited to have this. We are also designated as a runner friendly community for RRCA.”

Dunagan, a Terre Haute native, is also a member of his university’s track & field team. He said he was excited to race for an award after winning his division for the second straight year.

“Last year with COVID, they had us just pick them up,” Dunagan said. “There was no ceremony like usual and this year, I’m actually kind of excited they’re having a ceremony.”

Simpson said the group hopes it can continue the success of races, but also success in giving back to the community.

“This race benefits the kids. We have a midnight river run that benefits our scholarships,” Simpson said. “We give two scholarships every year. Our Christmas in the park race in September, that benefits cloth a child.”

The next event held by the Wabash Valley Road Runners will be the midnight river run on July 30 at Fairbanks Park.

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