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Crowds flock to Boulder Dash
Run raises funds for fitness effort
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Nicola Bezuidenhout gets a balloon after the Boulder Dash 5K on Saturday. The annual run benefits the Envision a Fit Forsyth program. - photo by Autumn Vetter

At a glance

Top finishers in 2012 Boulder Dash:

* Female Open Winner — Shane Swett, 19 minutes 14 seconds

* Female Masters Winner — Nancy Dalman, 22 minutes 1 second

* Male Open Winner — Max Warner, 17 minutes 28 seconds

* Male Masters Winner — Chris Jordan, 19 minutes 8 seconds

Joan Gebhardt and children Vicki, Sammie and Jimmy eagerly waited at the finish line.

“This is his first 5K,” Joan Gebhardt said of husband Michael, who was running in Saturday’s Boulder Dash 5K. “His goal is to make it in 35 minutes.”

Joan Gebhardt, an employee of one of the run’s main sponsors, Northside Hospital-Forsyth, said her husband surprised the family with his decision to run.

“I work at Northside, so we would have come out either way for support, but then my husband decided to run,” she said. “He’s pretty athletic, but he still lost seven pounds of fat and gained six pounds of muscle during his 12 weeks of training.”

He also ended up performing better than he had hoped.

“He came in at 29 minutes,” his wife said as he crossed the finish line. “That’s six minutes under his goal.”

Gebhardt was one of more than 1,200 people who took part in the 5K, which began at Northside-Forsyth and made its way through the Lafarge Aggregates Concrete Quarry.

Saturday was the third year for the run, which is organized by the Healthcare Association of Forsyth County, a part of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation fund in support of the Envision a Fit Forsyth program.

Jason Mock, director of the chamber’s Small Business Services Center, estimated that Saturday’s event would likely net about $10,000 for the fund.

He said organizers were pleased with the turnout.

“We registered 1,342 people with 1,209 running,” he said. “That was about a 90 percent completion rate, so we were happy with that.”

Unseasonably warm temperatures may have kept some who registered from taking part, but Mock said overall the conditions cooperated.

“We had great weather,” he said. “It was a little warm, but still better than last year when we were afraid a thunderstorm might hit.”

Teresa Marks ran the 5K along with her two sons: Jackson, 13, and Jacob, 12.

“I finished in the time that I wanted to,” she said after completing the route. “It’s hot though. I’d much rather have 50- or 60-degree temperatures.”

Volunteer Brenda Lovett, who has worked at Lafarge for about 12 years, said she doesn’t miss a chance to help at the event.

“Everyone’s always amazed at how different they thought [the quarry] would be,” said Lovett, who was one of about 70 volunteers. “That’s the best part — seeing people’s reactions when they travel through the quarry.”