Pharmacist Organizes 5K To Help Fund Walking Trail — And To Encourage Physical Fitness

Posted: February 12, 2014

Vance Bryant, owner of Stanley Pharmacy, stands near a portion of the walking trail at the park, where the 5K begins and ends. He organized the race last year not only as a way to raise money for the trail, but also to encourage folks to exercise and stay in shape. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)

The folks who run in Stanley’s 5K race no doubt support the cause the contest helps fund — a walking and fitness trail at Ed Good Memorial Park. The way Vance Bryant sees it, the 5K and the fitness trail complement one another and can only help get more people in Stanley and beyond on the road to good health.

This year’s 5K, to be held July 5, is the second in what Bryant and Town Manager Terry Pettit hope will become an annual event.

The first one raised about $3,500 toward the estimated $60,000 to $65,000 needed to finish the fitness trail around the perimeter of the park.

“We have so many people who walk here in town on the sidewalk,” Bryant explained. “[The 5K] was a way to promote health and wellness and we thought it was a great idea.”

Bryant, who owns Stanley Pharmacy, got the event started last year also as a way to get people moving.

He often meets people in his pharmacy who could improve their quality of life by getting active. He does his best to encourage his customers to start working out, even if it’s just a low-impact routine like walking, he said.

“I see people having to spend significant amounts of money on medications,” Bryant said. “If they were a little more disciplined towards fitness and their lifestyles ... they could save quite a bit of money on their prescription drugs.”

And then there are the physical benefits of working out.

“After most people get over the initial three or four weeks of starting an exercise program, and get over some of the soreness and things like that, they feel better,” he said. “Obviously, it takes some time out of your week to do these things, but you feel better, you feel healthier.”

Bryant has been a runner himself off and on for many years, and said he loves the supportive environment that racers create for one another. Anyone who doesn’t run might be surprised by that idea, since there’s an inherent competition involved with trying to be the fastest.

“There’s so much support among the runners that they cheer each other on, even though they’re essentially competing against each other to some degree. But you want to see others do well and do their best,” Bryant said. “There’s a great atmosphere as well as health benefits associated with it.”

Although Bryant didn’t run in the Stanley race last July because he was doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work, he said the environment for the 5K was supportive for all participants. Runners had two options: they could either run the full five kilometers, which is about three miles, or they could take a shorter, one-mile path.

The 5K went slightly outside the town’s boundaries, but started and ended at Ed Good Memorial Park.

The park, in the center of town, is about 8 acres and has a children’s playground.

Construction has begun on the walking and fitness trail. Proceeds from the race will support its continued development.

It will cost $20 per adult for preregistration and $25 after that period ends. Preregistration dates have not yet been determined.

Last year, about 80 people registered for the race.

“Turnout was huge,” Pettit said. “I hope we have more this year than we had last.”

Although Bryant isn’t a native of Stanley, he has lived there since taking over Stanley Pharmacy in 1978.

He says he’s grown attached to the small town.

“I love the Page County area,” he said. “It’s beautiful and it’s got a lot of wonderful people.”

Some details about the race have yet to be determined, but information is expected to be posted by mid-March on the Shenandoah Valley Track Club’s website, valleytrack.org.

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or kcloos@dnronline.com

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