Race raises thousands for local schools

Racers begin the second Cuffs and Hoses 5K race in Pikeville on Saturday. The race is a fundraiser which helps local first responders purchase school supplies for area schools. For more photos of the event, see page 2A.

Runners and walkers of all ages came together in downtown Pikeville for the second ‘Cuffs and Hoses’ 5K Race on Saturday, raising thousands of dollars to provide school supplies for children in need.

The race started in front of the Appalachian Wireless Arena, and 194 runners participated, including residents and first responders. The event, which was hosted by Pikeville Medical Center and the Pikeville Police department, raised about $25,000 this year, said Fadi Al Akhrass, one of the event’s lead organizers. Last year, the event raised more than $14,000 with the help of local businesses and personal contributions.

Akhrass, infectious disease specialist at Pikeville Medical Center, created the race as a fundraiser for school supplies for the Pikeville Independent Schools District and the Pike County Schools District. Additionally, the event also raised money for future community outreach programs, including Christmas with Cops and Firemen among others.

“We have seen a tremendous need in our community ,” Akhrass said. “I truly appreciate the help of everyone who helped to put this together. This is an important cause, and we could not have done this without you.”

Pikeville Police Chief Chris Edmonds also helped to organize the event with Akhrass. He spoke about the importance of the school supplies that will be provided using the money raised from the event, which, he said, could include food, clothing or hygiene items, in addition to school supplies.

“We’ve seen the need in our county for school supplies and other assorted items that students may need for their school projects and so on,” Edmonds said. “We were able to raise enough for every elementary school to receive every item they asked for.”

The overall and male winners included Seth Hall, Brycen Ash and Philip Koerper, and the female winners in the race included Katie Baldwin, Julie Marcum and Amber Hall. The registered racers ranged between 4 and 74 years old, according to the race results.

Pikeville City Commissioner Allison Powers participated in the race with her 14-year-old daughter, Darby Powers. Allison said she came out to support the city’s first responders and local school students, as well as for her love of racing.

“I’m very proud that she came out to race with me,” Allison said, regarding her daughter.

Darby said she also attended the event as a member of the cross country team at Pike County Central High School. Several of her team members also raced with her and Allison. This race, she said, was her third 5K race in her racing career.

“I felt great,” Darby said, about crossing the finish line. “I’m proud of myself.”

Annette O’Neill, of Kimper, attended the race with her two daughters and her husband, Jerry O’Neill. Annette’s daughters were members of the Johns Creek Elementary School track team. Although Annette stayed behind with her 7-year-old daughter at the finish line while Jerry and her oldest daughter, Kaylee O’Neill, ran in Saturday’s race, she said, she also enjoys racing along with the rest of her family.

Last year, Annette said, she had a heart pacemaker installed, and her husband started experiencing seizures, which made Saturday’s race significant for her family.

“The fact that we’re still able to be healthy and run and stuff like that, I thank God for that,” Annette said.

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