Runners, walkers and others in the community will have a chance to honor Ahmaud Arbery's memory and discuss social and racial justice at two upcoming events in Guilford County.
Fleet Feet Sports is teaming with Durham's Together We Stand NC for a Mile for Maud event on Feb. 19 in Greensboro. Goofy Foot Taproom & Brewery, located beside Fleet Feet's High Point store on N.C. 68, will follow with a Maud 2.23 event Feb. 26.
"You'd like to believe (the world) changes from politicians and it changes from the judges and the juries," says Joe Randene, general manager of Fleet Feet Greensboro. "But in reality, most of the time, the world changes from grassroots-type movements. It changes from small businesses doing things differently, from the normal person making a statement and saying things, and then doing the work on the ground.
"At Fleet Feet here in Greensboro and High Point, not only is it important for us to say we think that there is systemic social injustice against people of color, the LGBTQ community, but we'd like to be a part of that solution. Because I don't think the right answer is to vilify everybody. The right answer is to get as many diverse voices at the table as possible and have those conversations in a constructive manner, so that we can start to try to figure out a way to move forward and create this equitable future that we want."
Arbery, 25, a Black man who went out for a run Feb. 23, 2020, and was unarmed, was murdered by three white men in southern Georgia who suspected him of committing a series of break-ins in their neighborhood.
Greensboro's Mile for Maud, beginning at 9 a.m. Feb. 19, will start outside the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, 134 S. Elm St., and will end at the Green Bean, 341 S. Elm St.
The Maud 2.23 event in High Point, at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 26, will be at Goofy Foot, at 2762 N.C. 68, High Point.
Together We Stand NC and Fleet Feet will send donations to the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro. In addition, Greensboro-based Omega Sports is also partnering with Together We Stand NC at similar events across the state, along with sponsors HOKA, CEP Compression and LockLaces.
Greensboro runner David Tillman is pleased to see businesses and runners in his community involved in important discussions and in honoring Arbery.
"I love the fact that they're starting off at the Civil Rights Museum during Black History Month; that's just pretty powerful right there," Tillman said. "It's important to just remember him and what happened to him. I believe it's important to learn from things like this, especially a hate crime. But one of the most important lessons to be learned here is just not to think the worst of people and not to judge a book by its cover.”
The Triad has not encountered the same tragedy as in Georgia involving a runner, but it hasn't been without incident. Two years ago, Danny Gatling, who was 16 at the time, was frisked by police officers while running along the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway in Greensboro. Gatling is now a senior at Page High School and is considering pursuing an engineering degree in college. He is also part of a four-person Pirates relay team that won an event at the recent Metro 4-A Conference championship and is entered in Class 4-A state competition this weekend.
Two of the men in Arbery's murder received life sentences without possibility of parole, and a third received a life sentence with possibility of parole after 30 years.
Their convictions of state crimes could be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court. The three men, charged with hate crimes, also face life sentences in federal court, where jury selection is under way.
"It's important to me to remember that some form of justice was served in this case that (the defendants) were tried and were recently found guilty of their crimes,” Tillman said, “which was a really big deal in the African American community.”
Abbey D'Agostino Cooper visits the Triad Feb. 19
Abbey D'Agostino Cooper's crash with Nikki Hamblin during the 5,000 meters at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, and how they treated each other, is one of the greatest and most graceful displays of sportsmanship of our lifetimes.
And you can meet her next weekend.
The Boone resident will be the guest speaker Feb. 19 at the Twin City Track Club's annual Winter Seminar at the Bermuda Run Country Club. The social is 6-7 p.m., dinner follows at 7 p.m., and Cooper will speak about 7:45.
Dr. Rosen back on course
Dick Rosen, the retired Greensboro internist, would like to put his name in the state record books in 2022.
The 91-year-old recently competed in the Winter Flight 5K in Salisbury, finishing the 3.1 miles in 53 minutes and 52.05 seconds, earning recognition from the Salisbury Post. About three months earlier, he impressed the race field and spectators at Greensboro's Run 4 the Greenway, earning recognition at this site.
"Their permit for the races included police protection for 90 minutes, and I wasn't sure I would finish 8K before then," Rosen wrote via email of his Winter Flight run. "Hence I entered the 5K."
The 5K course was not certified, Rosen said, so there'll be no applications for records. But he's just getting started on it.
"I'm still looking for a race (or races) that meet the criteria," he wrote.
$5 5K series returns in April
Ah, the harbingers of spring!
We're enjoying 65-degree afternoons in February.
Pitchers and catchers just might report soon. Maybe.
And $5 5Ks are back on the schedule.
The Twin City Track Club's monthly series of Tuesday night races on the Muddy Creek Greenway will return April 12. They're scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesdays of each month through October, when the finale will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 11.
Registration will open March 1. Visit the track club's site or check out the links to each event at the Race Days calendar to learn more.