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'Virtual Fun Run' Raises 4K for Community
'Virtual Fun Run' Raises 4K for Community
Posted on 05/14/2020
A collage showing a team photo from earlier this year and three photos of students during the virtual fun run.(Pictured: a team photo from earlier this year and three photos of students during the virtual fun run.)

By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Valley Springs Middle School students recently learned how to “go the distance” for their community.

Joined by students from Charles T. Koontz Intermediate School and T.C. Roberson High School, the VSMS Cross Country Team ran a combined 223 miles and raised $4,347 for Eblen Charities during a “virtual fun run” on May 1. Both totals far outpaced their goals of 100 miles and $1,000, respectively. Students and families each ran laps separately – on neighborhood streets, trails, and treadmills, and streamed their progress live in a Zoom meeting.

“It was incredible, way bigger than I expected to see,” said VSMS Cross Country Coach Robbie Harms, a fifth-grade teacher at nearby Koontz Intermediate. “I was beyond impressed by all of the kids who showed up to run. It’s cool to be part of something bigger than yourself and do it along with your teammates and friends. And all of that money will go directly to Eblen Charities’ COVID-19 relief fund to help families affected by the pandemic.”

Thirty-four runners participated, he said. Many students ran farther than they ever have before, fueled by a desire to help their community. Seventh-grader Mackenzie Jordan ran seven miles on a treadmill in her home. Her 16 sponsors raised $500.

“It was exciting to know that not only had I helped to contribute to that, but knowing that that money went to help people, and we were able to do it together as a team,” she said. “I would’ve much rather been able to run with everybody, but it was fun to see where everybody else got to run and how they can do things differently than what we do together.”

“It was great to be a part of it,” added her mother, BCS Middle Grades Math Coach Leigha Mackenzie. “Parents were checking off miles. There was lots of cheering in the chat. It was so encouraging to be able to see all the faces of the kids checking in and doing this together. Even though they were apart, they were united. It had the feel of a meet.”

Roberson High School Counselor Michelle Eldridge had a computer set up in a chair outside as her son, Valley Springs eighth-grader Reagan Eldridge, ran five miles worth of laps around a traffic circle.

“It was really special,” Ms. Eldridge said. “This was just something we thought would be great to do something to benefit the community, something to look forward to. And Eblen is such an amazing organization that provides so much support to families. So Reagan was super excited to be involved.”

Eblen Charities Projects and Events Coordinator Amanda Putnam said the $4,347 will help families who are struggling to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic.

“We are so grateful to Coach Harms and his students for organizing this awesome fundraiser to help families who have been affected by COVID-19,” she said. “We were honored to be asked to be a part of their tremendous effort to help the community. And it was so exciting to see the students surpass their first goal of $1,000 and continue to climb to more than four times that!”

Want to help? Visit Eblen Charities' website to support the local nonprofit's ongoing community efforts.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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