The 7th Annual Fred Birchmore Memorial Run for Fun will be held Sunday, Sept. 15, at Sandy Creek Nature Center beginning with a 1 Mile run at 3 p.m. followed by a 5K at 3:30 p.m.
Registration is $20 through race day with a no-shirt option for $15. Those wishing to be “phantom runners” may receive a T-shirt for $20. Packet pickup begins at Sandy Creek Nature Center (NOT Sandy Creek Park) at 1:30 p.m.
Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Athens, race proceeds will support the academic success of children at Howard Stroud Elementary School, children’s books for the Athens Library, Books for Keeps, Grandparents Raising Grandkids, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, Athens Learning Ally, the Clarke County Mentor Program, and environmental education projects in Athens schools.
Runners will receive T-shirts featuring the race’s namesake, the late Fred Birchmore, who once told a journalist, “For me, the great purposes in life are to have as many adventures as possible, brighten the lives of as many as possible, and to leave this old world a little bit better place.”
A native Athenian and 80-year member of the Kiwanis Club of Athens, Birchmore, who died at the age of 100 in 2012, was known for such exploits as riding his one-speed bicycle 25,000 miles across Eurasia over the course of two years beginning in 1935, completing his global trek in 1939 with a 12,000-mile tour of North America, and followed that a year later with a 4,500-mile bicycling honeymoon through Latin America on a tandem bicycle with his new bride, Willa Dean.
Birchmore’s adventures continued throughout his life, including traversing the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail with his youngest son, Dean, in 1975, and building the “Great Wall of Happy Hollow,” a massive stone wall he built by hand in his 70s at his home. Birchmore’s parting wish to all was always, “Until we see each other again, may good health and happiness go with you for the rest of your journey through life on God’s beautiful spaceship Earth.”