Run for the books in 13th Forrest Ray 5K

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 9/11/18

Saturday marks the 13th year for the Forrest Ray 5K sponsored by the Friends of the Sumter County Library. Also called the Run for the Books, the race follows a course through downtown and Sumter's historic district, beginning and ending at the …

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Run for the books in 13th Forrest Ray 5K

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Saturday marks the 13th year for the Forrest Ray 5K sponsored by the Friends of the Sumter County Library. Also called the Run for the Books, the race follows a course through downtown and Sumter's historic district, beginning and ending at the library on North Harvin Street.

The race was started in 2006 by the late Forrest Ray, a community leader and avid reader who saw the importance of the library to everyone in the area, especially children. Originally intended as a fundraiser to expand and improve the main library downtown and the Wesmark Branch, the race has continued each year to support the library, mainly with the purchase of books. Ray died shortly after the first 5K, and the event was then named in his memory and honor.

It's not too late to pre-register for the race and save $5, Sumter County Library Director Robert Harden said. Register before Saturday at the library, 111 N. Harvin St., for $20. Make checks payable to Friends of the Library. On the day of the race, registration begins at 7 a.m., and the fee is $25. The race begins at 8 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Sumter County Library.

There will be awards for the overall male and female winners, as well as first-, second- and third-place finishers in seven age groups - 13 and under, 14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and older.

Harden said law enforcement will be present along the route for traffic control, and "the Daisy Troop Girl Scouts of St. Mark Methodist Church will be taking care of the water station again for us this year." They will be set up at Grace Baptist Church on West Calhoun Street, which the runners will pass twice on the race route.

Runners will start at the corner of Law Range and North Harvin Street, proceed to West Calhoun Street, turn left, then right on North Purdy Street, left on Mason Croft Drive, left on Winn Street, left on West Calhoun Street, right on North Harvin Street and left on East Canal Street to the library parking lot. The route will be clearly marked.

Corporate sponsor for the race is SAFE Federal Credit Union; other sponsors are the Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association, The Ray Family, Chuck and Sue Fienning and Piggly Wiggly.

The race is family friendly, with walkers, strollers and even dogs on leashes welcome, but no bicycles are permitted.

To register or for more information about Saturday's Forrest Ray 5K, contact the Sumter County Library at www.sumtercountylibrary.org or (803) 773-7273.

Event details

What: Forrest Ray 5K sponsored by the Friends of the Sumter County Library

When: Saturday, Sept. 15, race begins at 8 a.m., registration begins at 7 a.m.

Where: Starts at corner of Law Range and North Harvin Street

Cost: $20 before Saturday, $25 day-of