Sunny skies welcomed friends and families participating in the Happy Feet 5K on Saturday, April 27, as they ran or walked 3.1 miles for health and fitness.

“The weather was great. The people were friendly, and the workout was refreshing,” said Keisha Epps. “This was my first time, and I had so much fun. I will be back next year.”

Unbroken Fitness and personal trainer Tiffany Pounds-Glass provided health and fitness tips and guided participants through warm-up exercises.

After the Star Spangled Banner, Pastor Otis Dillard of County Line Missionary Baptist Church prayed over the event, and then Happy Feet participants were off, moving to “Happy” by Pharrell and “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, among others.

Runners and walkers of all ages came from near and far to enjoy this day with family and friends, organizers said.

The children’s fun run was a hit again this year. Children as young as 3 and up to 13 years old ran the fun run — one lap around the track at Halifax County Middle School. While some participants took a leisurely walk to complete the 5K, others gave it their all.

As always, the finish line celebration was a favorite with raffle prizes provided from local businesses. Prizes included a mechanic tool set from True Value, a perfume gift basket and a cologne gift basket from Belk, an overnight stay from Fairfield Inn & Suite By Marriott, dinner certificates provided by Applebee’s and game cards provided by World of Sports.

Leading the men, Kendall Good claimed first place (20:11) and reclaimed the Good family first place title from last year. The Good brothers swept first, second and third place last year. This year’s second place went to Jacob Barker (20:25), and third place went to Davontre Boyd (21:40).

Leading the women, Dorenn Coleman (23:01) claimed first place, with Shelly Dix (25:40) coming in second, and Brittany Coursey (26:32) coming in third. This was Coursey’s first time, and she was thrilled to get the win.

Race director Dr. Virginia Sargent said she greatly appreciated the support of all the runners, walkers, volunteers and local sponsors.

“We can’t do this without the great support of our volunteers and the runners and walkers who participate. A big shout out goes particularly to Chase City Rehab who volunteered as course patrol and helped serve healthy snacks. Grand sponsors included Janet Collins, general manager of Fairfield Inn, for again serving as host hotel for sixth year in a row as well as Frutopia who served delicious yogurt for everyone,” said Sargent.

“The yogurt was in demand, so I was grateful to see Vinny back again to assist this year. Sorry to anyone who missed this delicious treat. We also appreciated sponsorships with Sentara Halifax Regional and H and M Logging who were again generous supporters and from The House of Carpets and Mike’s TV who gave raffle donations.”

Proceeds will again sponsor the Reach Out and Read Program at Sydnor Jennings Elementary School that is improving literacy efforts for many children.

“We truly appreciate this support of all the Happy Feet participants. Thank you so much,” said Linda Coleman, principal of Sydnor Jennings Elementary.

Sargent also expressed thanks to their photographer, local resident Clarence Stevenson, and their DJ from Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“Last but not least, thanks to all volunteers, family and friends who really made 2019 a successful Happy Feet 5K,” said Sargent.

The Halifax County Happy Feet 5K Run/Walk is an annual fundraiser organized to continue good deeds in memory of Virginia Maude Dixon Hightower who was a tireless advocate for goodwill for all Halifax County residents.

It is organized by the Happy Feet Run for Health and Fitness Road Runners Club, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

For any questions or concerns, contact organizers at happyfeethealthy@gmail.com or Google them.