Park to hold 11th annual Darlington 5000 race Sept. 12

The USATF-certified course will take walkers and runners 5 kilometers (or 5,000 meters) through Williamson Park, across Swift Creek and along park trails, starting in downtown Darlington at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, starting at the Public Square with registration beginning at 8 o’clock. Prizes will be awarded for top male and female overall winners as well as top finishers in the various age divisions. There are even several divisions for the younger crowds: 9 and younger, 10-14, and 15-19.
Registration is $20. Download a form from www.williamsonpark.org or www.darlingtonsconline.com. Please make checks payable to “Williamson Park.”

Water will be available on the course, and refreshments will be provided at the finish line. Final results will be posted online at www.carolinarunningcompany.com following the race.

Funds raised from this event will go toward further beautification of this woodland preserve: removing invasive exotics, planting native trees, and recovering from recent summer storms. In the last year, some of those proceeds helped replace the three-foot-wide walkway at the back of the park with a five-foot-wide boardwalk to match the others along the trails. The new boardwalk and viewing area are just the tip of the iceberg to improvements the committee wants to make in the Park.
“We have a wonderful asset in Williamson Park, and we want to continue to make improvements there to give citizens a welcome respite from our fast-paced, digital culture,” said Lisa Chalian-Rock, city planning director. “Not many cities can boast of a 70-acre nature preserve and bird sanctuary just a few blocks from downtown. It’s a great getaway for residents and visitors alike.”

The Park was given to the City in 1927 by Bright Williamson and his wife Margaret. The gift was a 64-acre tract that includes majestic cypress trees and all the familiar flora and fauna one would expect to find in a coastal plains swamp. Bridges and footpaths crisscross over Swift Creek, and a road runs along the park so that drivers can peek down into the woodlands. Its size allows for great wildlife habitat, while its location close to the town square makes it accessible for all residents and visitors to explore.

Because of the success of this annual fundraiser and the hard work of an engaged citizenry, extensive improvements have been achieved. More than a mile of paths and boardwalk have been rebuilt to re-create a loop trail; hundreds of cypress, oaks, dogwoods, and other native trees have been planted; stream flow and drainage have been improved without disrupting the natural habitat; and access points have been rebuilt. Boy Scouts from Florence and Darlington have also made valuable contributions to the park through their Eagle Scout projects.

Starting Location: The Public Square in Darlington
Date & Time: 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12
Packet Pickup and Race-Day Registration: 8 a.m.
Questions: Email williamsonpark@gmail.com or call 843-398-4030
Advance Registration: Download a form from www.williamsonpark.org or www.darlingtonsconline.com. Please make checks payable to “Williamson Park.”
Entry Fee: $20
Race awards: Prizes will be awarded for top male and female overall winners as well as top finishers in the following age group divisions: 9 and younger, 10-14,15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-75, 76 and older.

Water will be available on the course. Refreshments will be provided at the finish line.
Final Results will be posted on www.carolinarunningcompany.com following the race.
USAT&F Certification number: SC05022BS

Williamson Park is a woodland preserve owned and managed by the City of Darlington. Visit the park online at www.williamsonpark.org

Author: Jana Pye

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