By SHAUN SAVARESE
Of The Record Staff
For those interested in running 12 hours straight, the Nutcracker Run in Erwin begins Saturday morning at 6:30.
The annual race is open for online registration until tonight at midnight, at ultrasignup.com, keyword is Nutcracker Run.
This race has taken place on the Dunn-Erwin Rail Trail for the last few years, running 5 miles — from the starting point at the Indigo Room in Erwin to Ellis Avenue in Dunn — and back.
The race is distance-based, not timed. The goal is to see how many miles can be run over the course of 12 hours. There are two, shorter distance runs scheduled, a six-hour run beginning at 7:30 a.m., and a three-hour run at 8:30 a.m.
Lasting until 6:30 p.m., the Nutcracker Run is being held to raise money for the Dunn Police Athletic & Activites League and the Dunn Rotary Club.
The run’s organizer, Russell Galvan, said that 100 percent of the funds raised will go “primarily to benefit the Police Athletic League, with a contribution going back to Dunn Rotary.” Mr. Galvan is the former Dunn Rotary president.
Mr. Galvan took over the coordination of this year’s run for the first time, after longtime run organizer Thomas Hurd was called to serve the Army overseas in Jordan.
A few years back, Mr. Hurd was looking for a place to hold a race in December and Mr. Galvan suggested Erwin, his hometown.
“If you run the Rail Trail on any other weekend you might be running alone,” Mr. Galvan said. “If you come out Saturday, you’ll be running with some like-minded individuals. And you might make some new friends, local, and out of town.”
Of you can come out and cheer the runners on, you’ll have plenty of time.
There are more than 80 people from all over the state, country and world registered for Saturday’s early morning endurance run, including Dunn Mayor Oscar Harris.
Bruce Bates of Coats, Byron Johnson of Dunn and Dunn Rotary President Jessica Elmore will join the mayor in the three-hour run.
Aaron Kramer, Emily Troutman and Eileen Farley of Sanford, Lisa McFadden and Laura Smith, of Lillington, Valerie Miller and Patty Oates of Clinton will take part in the six-hour run.
Laurie Matecki and Jordan Recknagel of Sanford, Andres Fleury and Christine Brewington of Clinton, Cherie McCafferty and Shawn Wussow of Spring Lake, Carrie Frey of Angier and Julia Gumpert of Lillington will be a part of the full 12-hour Nutcracker Run. Mr. Galvan said the Nutcracker Run is not just for runners, but also for people who “want to see what (they) can do.”
Last year, Mr. Galvan ran the race in a full Santa Claus costume with a beard as part of the Nutcracker Run Spirit Award competition.
The Spirit Award goes to the runner with the best costume and the person who runs the longest distance in a festive, holiday-themed costume. In 2016, the temperature at the starting gun was around 20 degrees, and 35-year-old Virginia-native Mike Bailey was the first-place finisher, with a distance of 77 miles.
Lillington’s Lowell Gutridge, 53, finished 14th with 51 miles. Andres Fleury of Clinton ran a reported 50 miles, finishing 16th, and Paul Starling of Dunn finished 22nd with a distance of 47 miles. Spring Lake’s Shawn Wussow ran 43 miles and Keshia Heggie- Street of Fuquay-Varina ran 40 miles.