Krissy Benda admitted that she wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of running 10 kilometers in heavy rain on Saturday morning. But, she received inspiration from her husband, Capt. Robert Benda, half a world away.
“My husband’s in Qatar, and he said he wanted to run a 10K on the same day,” Benda said prior to the start of the St. Jude benefit run/walk Saturday in Havelock. “He said, ‘it’s 105 and if I can do it in 105 then you can do it when it’s raining and 50.’ I’m thinking I’ll take the 105.”
Despite the heavy rain of Saturday morning, a large majority of the 180 registered participants came out to run and walk, raising money for the children’s cancer treatment and research hospital located in Memphis, Tenn.
“I hope they have hot cocoa when we get done,” said Chauntelle Chandler, who was running the race with her 11-year-old son Josh.
She said the pair was determined to run in the rain, not only for St. Jude but also for each other.
“I turned 40 this year, and there’s no holding back,” she said. “He said if I was going to do it, he was going to do it, so why not?”
Sean Gorman crossed the finish line first in the one-mile run.
“My feet were completely soaked in the first 100 yards,” he said of running the race. “That automatically slows you down because you feel like you’re going to slip on every step. I typically never run in this type of weather. It was definitely a unique experience.”
Gorman said he didn’t consider skipping the race, despite the heavy rain.
“It’s great to see when people come together for a purpose,” he said. “It’s nice to see. Even though we’re all just running together in this terrible weather, we’re trying to achieve something greater. We’re trying to fight against cancer. It’s great to see everyone come together for that cause.”
Last year, the event - organized by Debbie Holmes with help from a host of volunteers - raised $22,000 for St. Jude. Final figures from Saturday’s sixth annual race weren’t yet available, as pre-registered participants sought pledges to run the race. Individuals and teams raising the most money received prizes from various business sponsors of the event.
Those who participated in the race agreed that they would not let a little rain slow down their efforts to help children with cancer.
“We know this is a great cause, raising money for St. Jude’s,” said Ed Taylor, who was running the race with his 12-year-old daughter Maris. “Running in the rain is not a big deal when you consider what the children that need these services go through every day. We’re going to get wet, but it’s a great cause.”