The traditional Woodstock 5K and kid’s run rolls around again on Aug. 2, and competitors in the various age categories are increasing their mileage and conditioning for speed and endurance. The Anniston Runners Club has always conducted this race with the intent that all who run can be a winner.

The Anniston Runners Club not only is a group that trains, runs and competes but also encourages others to take on this healthy lifestyle as well. My daughter Lori became acquainted with the members during the glory years of running in the 1980s. It was with the club’s support and encouragement that kept her running back-to-back races every weekend.

At the age of 5 it was tough to keep her interested, but with the support of the runners club she became one of the top runners in Alabama. Nancy Grace, Pam Yother, Wilburn Smallwood and Yo and Harry Setser are just a few in the club who help make her what she would one day become — state champ in the mile, breaking track records at UAB and becoming a track coach herself.

Thank you, Anniston Runners Club, for your support and for providing Anniston with the opportunity to run the best 5K in the state.

If you attend the Woodstock as a race competitor, a walker or just a spectator, take time to show your support for the little ones who have worked hard for this event.

Cheer them on, clap your hands, pat them on the back for a job well done. Remember, with a little encouragement, the young boy or girl who you pat on the back or you yell, “Good job, great run” could one day be the Woodstock overall winner, state champ or an Olympic hopeful.

Ralph Usrey