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How a race showed the heart of Clinton

Or, ‘These boots are made for walkin’ — not so much for racing

  • Ray Allen and Andie Breeden made a trade before Clinton’s 5K and Fun Run Saturday - Ken Leinart

  • Thanks to Andie Breed- en, Ray Allen didn’t run a race in his cowboy boots. - Ken Leinart

The 10th Annual Clinton 5K and Fun Run was held last Saturday, and as usual, there were a lot of “moments” that make this event more than just a race.

The 5K and Fun Run raise funds for Clinton City and Anderson County School systems. Proceeds are used for health and wellness grants within the two systems.

And every year there are stories behind the run — stories that make this a true community event.

To start off, there are the two directors of schools: Kelly Johnson (Clinton) and Dr. Tim Parrott (Anderson County).

Parrott took part in the 5K run, a distinction Kelly Johnson pointed out on the Clinton City Schools’ Facebook page.

And then there is Seth Shrout, who after a chorus of “Happy Birthday” was sung to him, participated in the race.

It was, after all, his birthday.

But the real meaning of what this race can be was spotlighted by a South Clinton Elementary School teacher helping a student take part in the race.

Eva Allen was signed up and warming up to compete in Saturday’s event — one of the more than 100 participants registered to run.

That’s when her brother, Ray, decided he wanted to run, too.

Ray, a sixth grader at South Clinton Elementary, had one slight draw back in his last minute plan to run with his sister.

He had shown up at the event wearing cowboy boots — not the best for running a 5K (or even a one mile Fun Run).

And that’s where the community atmosphere of Clinton — what this city does best — came to the forefront.

One South Clinton Elementary School educator took a gander at Ray’s footwear, then a look at her own, and told the young would-be runner it might be best if they swapped shoes — or rather, his boots for her sneakers.

So, anyone who witnessed Andie Breeden walking and running up and down the venue cheering students on while she wore cowboy boots … Now you know why.

And it gets better.

Ray Allen’s not the runner his sister is. That’s not a problem really. Not in Saturday’s setting.

But nonetheless, Breeden’s son, Bryson, said he would run the race with Ray.

Because …

That’s what you do in Clinton.

You support each other.