Despite concerns about blocking parts of Main Street, London City Council will allow Family Outdoor Dream Productions to host a 10K run Sept. 11 that will coincide with the Taste of London at the London-Laurel County Farmers Market.
President Debbie Gilbert asked the council Monday for a parade permit to host the event. Some downtown streets will be blocked off in sections.
“London Downtown is not having a bike race this year, so the mayor suggested we might try to do that on Sept. 11,” Gilbert said. “It would start at 8 a.m. and last about two hours.”
Gilbert said the race will start at the Kroger store on North Main where the street will be blocked until the runners reach Fourth Street. Then that part of Main will be re-opened. The runners will continue up Fifth Street and down Main to the London City Hall building.
Council member Danny Phelps said people always complain when the streets are blocked.
“The only problem we have are the constant complaints about the street being closed,” he said. “Do these things always have to run right down Main Street?”
Gilbert said the race would only affect Main Street from the Kroger store to Fourth Street and a small portion from Fourth to City Hall at the end of the race.
Mike Cook, owner of Cook Brothers at 822 N. Main St., objects to closing the street in front of his auto parts store.
“If you cut off my business, I might as well go home,” he said. “If I go home, I’m sure not going to have any income. I don’t have any problems with people wanting to run. I think it’s good and healthy. I do think a lot of times people don’t realize there’s Lowe’s, the Family Dollar. There’s several businesses down through there. All those businesses are affected. Maybe you council members can come up with a different route.
“Do you have any alternate routes?” Cook asked Gilbert.
Gilbert said she talked with the London Police Department about the quickest way to block streets.
“That’s the reason they suggested starting early and getting out of that section of town,” Gilbert said.
Phelps said advertising the event with the street being closed would keep customers from coming to town. He also said he had several complaints about it always being the same route.
“Why couldn’t it go down Fourth Street to Benge’s (Farm Supply)?” Phelps questioned, trying to tease council member Sharon Benge.
Gilbert said she had looked at that route, but decided against it because of the railroad tracks.
“We want it to be a downtown event,” she said.
Council member Nancy Vaughn said since the event will only last a couple of hours, she agrees. All the members voted to allow the permit except Phelps.
The 10K run, which is 6.2 miles, is the first event sponsored by the Family Outdoor Dream Productions. The London group is a faith-based organization that promotes family values through outdoor leisure activity.
Gilbert, who earned her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Liberty University, recently started the organization after completing a practicum and internship with the counseling program of Hawk Creek Baptist Church. She is also the director of Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based 12-step recovery program for individuals and families. It has been her dream, she said, to see a regional faith-based counseling center in this area.
“I am committed to that dream,” Gilbert said. “This 10K for 10K event is our kick-off event to see this dream come true.”
The event will not just be for runners, she said.
“We’ll do some other events,” Gilbert said. “There will be a fishing tournament, swimming and camping events, a lot of things geared toward children. We’re planning and working toward a Regional Christian Counseling Center.”
Both of the first-place winners — a male and a female — will receive a $10,000 cash prize each. Second place prize is $2,000 each and third place is $1,000 each.
There is also a $4,000 family prize, for which terms have not yet been defined.
Gilbert said runners will be able to register online, but it will be a few weeks before the Web site will be finished.
The cost to register for the race will be $100 per person.
“That’s a lot less than most races with this kind of a purse,” Gilbert said.
“There will be many, many elite runners who just travel and do mostly this,” she said. “The runners who run this kind of race usually finish the distance in the 25 minutes to 30 minutes.”
Staff writer Carol Mills can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.