By Jillena Smith

  Runners stretching to get warmed up before the start of the 5k. Photo courtesy of Jillena Smith.
Runners stretching to get warmed up before the start of the 5k. Photo courtesy of Jillena Smith.

The 31st Annual Run the Rails took place on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The event is put on each year by the Buford Athletic Booster Club.  Proceeds from the annual event go to help fund the numerous scholarships that the Buford High School Athletic Department awards to deserving senior athletes each year. Participants had the opportunity to sign up for a 5K, 10K, or they could sign up to be a Phantom Runner. This race is a qualifier for the 2019 Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.

The race morning started out overcast with a threat of rain. All the participants and their friends and family started arriving at the amphitheater in downtown Buford. You could see all the groups arriving together and there seemed to be a friendly competition between the local Fit Body Bootcamps. By the looks from pictures posted on the internet, Sugar Hill Fit Body had more participants than Buford Fit Body. As a sponsor of this year’s race, Sugar Hill Fit Body owner, Derek and Lisa Rackley lead all the participants in warm-up that involved getting them stretched out for the race.

  Participants lining up before the signal is given to start the race. Photo courtesy of Jillena Smith.
Participants lining up before the signal is given to start the race. Photo courtesy of Jillena Smith.

The 5K started promptly at 7:30 a.m., starting at the Amphitheatre, continuing down Main Street toward Tannery Row, turning down Moreno Street, coming back in front of the Bona Allen Mansion, making a right on Main Street, and then snaking back around to finish at the Amphitheatre. There was a total of 335 people who participated in the 5k this year. Josh Thompson had the fastest finish, coming in with a time of 16:25. The 10K started promptly at 7:45 a.m., and followed the same route as the 5K, but involved two laps to finish. There was a total of 138 people who participated in the 10k this year. Michelle McKenzie had the fastest finish, coming in with a time of 41:57.

Even though the train blocked some of the railroad crossings and the race blocked the others, the City of Buford did an awesome job stopping and diverting traffic. Thanks to the Buford Athletic Booster Club for putting on another awesome event.

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