At the First Annual West Mount Airy Neighbors Blocktoberfest Run/Walk Saturday, runner No. 151 Tiffany Thurman finished last. But, she said, the run was a victory in her eyes.
“I was the first to start and the last to finish, but I met my goal,” Thurman said with a light-hearted laugh. “My goal was to finish.”
A 30-year-old Mount Airy resident, Thurman completed the five-mile course in one hour and 17 minutes. A two-mile course was offered as well.
“I ran track in high school eons ago, and, this year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to start running again. So this is my second race this year,” she said.
Thurman followed the run with a complementary massage. West Mount Airy Neighbors held the run/walk to raise money for its efforts. The event started at 7:45 a.m.and ended at the Allens Lane Train Station.
The run/walk, which group members plan to hold again, included 75 participants, who paid $20 through early registration, or $30 thereafter.
“We wanted to use the opportunity to get everyone out in the fresh air before everybody hibernates for the winter and remind ourselves [that] we’re good neighbors,” said Marilyn Cohen, West Mount Airy Neighbors executive director.
The group was founded in 1959 “as a way of preserving the diverse nature of our community,” Cohen said. “It was the times of the civil rights struggle, there were attempts of blockbusting here and neighbors got together and said ‘That’s not going to happen here.’”
The organization has since grown as a civic association, Cohen said, employing a quality-of-life committee to help neighbors resolve issues and remaining watchful of things that may affect the neighborhood, such as crime and zoning.
The event, and subsequent block parties scheduled throughout West Mount Airy, was also hosted to “show our solidarity in the community,” she said.
“We do from time to time have small problems – crime problems, there are burglaries from time to time. We wanted this to be a take-back-the-streets event as well,” Cohen added. “The community that plays together stays together.”