Bethlehem First United Methodist Church invites runners and walkers of all ages to participate in the Wiseman 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run through the streets of downtown Bethlehem on Saturday, Jan. 4.
The event is named in honor of the Wiseman who followed a star to a faraway town of Bethlehem over some 2,000 years ago on Epiphany, which is celebrated the first Sunday in January. The race is designed to kick off the New Year with a jumpstart on any fitness resolutions by “following the Christmas Star to Bethlehem,” leaders state.
The Town of Bethlehem was named for the church, which was established in the late 1700s. The current facility, which houses the R. Harold Harrison Activity and Fitness Center at 709 Christmas Ave., was opened in 2009.
“In addition to open membership, we serve hundreds of families throughout the year with programs such as Upwards Sports,” said director Anissa Sullivan. “This event will help us to do that and continue to provide recreation space for BFUMC Preschool, VBS and other youth events.”
The center is named in honor of the late state senator and Georgia Agriculture Hall of Fame inductee R. Harold Harrison, a lifelong member of BFUMC. The church’s current facility was acquired and funded solely by Harrison. Harrison Golden Goodness Poultry, the company he founded, employs over 1,000 people in Barrow County.
“Our church has been blessed by the generous spirit of Mr. Harrison,” said Associate Pastor Ben Wilcox. “It is our hope to be a blessing to our community by using those gifts to serve others. It’s been two years since we’ve held this event. We are so excited to bring it back and add to our many community outreach programs.” Other events hosted by BFUMC throughout the year include a Trunk or Treat, an Easter Egg Hunt, a charity car show, a spring craft fair and a holiday bazaar. For more information on these events, go to bethlehemfirstumc.org.
During the Wiseman 5K event, donations of gently-used shoes will be accepted to benefit Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization based in Nashville, Tenn. Soles4Souls provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world while creating sustainable jobs to disrupt the poverty cycle.
“Runners are a generous group of people who love supporting a good cause,” said a past race participant. “I know I have several pairs of shoes to donate because running shoes have to be replaced frequently with a lot of good miles still left in them.”
Everyone is invited to come to the event and take part in the 5K race, the 1-mile fun run, or simply cheer for friends and neighbors.
The Run for God Challenge runners, many of whom will be completing their first ever 5K race, will be participating. The Run for God runners range from high school students to grandparents and have been meeting together for 12 weeks in a Bible study focusing on building endurance and faith. The Wiseman 5K is the concluding event for the group.
The Wiseman 5K will have sponsor booths set up along with door prizes and will be hosted by the mascots, the Three Wisemen. Trophies will be given to the top overall men and women winners, along with medals for top three age group winners. The cost is $23 for the 5K race and $17 for the Fun Run. There is also a family discount available for groups of four.
To register, go to Wiseman5k.com.