By Sherrie Norris
Hunter’s Heroes is back in full swing with a new route this year for its annual 5K Race and the return of the end-of-race celebration at the finish line.
The big day is Saturday, Sept. 10, and honors the memory of all local heroes, but especially Deputy William Mast( who was killed in the line of duty a decade ago, and for whose son the event is named), along with Mast’s fellow officers and other community heroes who have followed him in death or experienced serious illness.
Watauga County’s most recent fallen officers, Sgt. Chris War and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox, were honored at the 2021 event.
This year pays tribute to the memory of the late Ronnie Duckworth, a well-loved resident of Foscoe who served his community well, and whose son, Daniel Duckworth, is a Captain with Boone Police Department. All proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund that was established by Duckworth’s family after his death last year.
While much has changed in our world in the last couple of years, the folks behind the scenes of Hunter’s Heroes said, they remain committed to their mission —”To inspire all of us to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to the community, and also to embrace the loved ones that lost someone too soon.”
Emphasizing the fact that we all have the power to make a difference in our community and beyond, Hunter’s Heroes invites the community to participate in the upcoming event as a way to remember those who have been honored previously, and to remind the families of these heroes that neither they nor their loved ones will be forgotten.
About the Race
The 5K race has a new location this year with start (8:30 a.m.) and finish at Clawson-Burnley Park on the Greenway Trail in Boone.
Online registration, which began in July, is suggested, but you may also register on the morning of the race from 6:30 a.m.- 8 a.m.
Fees are $20 for individuals who register between July 1 and September 10; $30 for individuals who register between September 3 until 8 a.m. on race day.
Age categories are: 12 and under| 13 – 19 | 19 – 29 | 30 – 39| 40 – 49 | 50 – 59 | 60 – 69 | 70 – 79| 80+.
According to the organizers, this is a family-friendly race, so children of all ages are welcome to run/walk, as well. The race will begin at the park and will go to the section on the Greenway Trail near the water treatment plant. A water station will be available nearby to rehydrate. Then, participants will follow the trail back to the start line/finish line.
This is a timed race, but it welcomes both seasoned runners and others who just want to take part in a great cause and event.
Strollers and dogs are permitted.
An awards ceremony with local hand-made local pottery for the winners, along with a celebration for everyone, will follow the run. Food will be available, as well as bounce houses, and simply a time for the community to come together to honor and remember some special folks.
The event will be held rain or shine.
What is Hunter’s Heroes All About?
Hunter’s Heroes began as a Memorial Run for Deputy William Mast Jr. who died suddenly in the line of duty on July 26, 2012. His son, Hunter Mast, was born 17 days later.
The nonprofit organization honors public safety officers and military personnel for their service to North Carolina and to the United States. “Our intentions are to remember and celebrate their commitment and to provide financial support to their families in times of need.”
The main objective of the organization is to pay tribute to those we have lost and offer comfort to their families.
“We want to inspire our community to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and to embrace the loved ones who lost a family member. Please consider joining our efforts by becoming one of Hunter’s Heroes.”
In addition to Mast, Ward and Fox, Hunter’s Heroes has honored other officers and their families, including Major Ryan Scott David, Officer Jason M. Crisp, Travis Gryder, NC Highway Patrol Trooper Benjamin Chappell, Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, Randy Collins, as well as other members of the community who have been honored and memorialized, including: Peyton Elizabeth Townsend, Katie Watson, Jenny McCourry, Leda Winebarger, Elayne Bishop, Levi Boyter and Aiden Amason.
Volunteers and Sponsors Always Needed
Hunter’s Heroes would not be possible without the help of many sponsors and volunteers, as the organization relies entirely on individual donations and year-round fundraisers to increase awareness.
The organization would like to thank all those who have helped in the past and those who continue to assist in fundraising efforts and other tasks prior to, during and after the event.
For questions about volunteering, contact volunteer coordinators, Emily Greer at (828) 773-9986 or Paige Mast-Blevins at (828) 964-2525, or via email email@example.com
If you would like to specifically host a cheer zone or water station, contact race director Carol Cook at the firstname.lastname@example.org
To register orfor any additional information, visit huntersheroes2013.com or email at email@example.com.
Scenes from earlier races portray a strong presence and unwavering support of participants during the annual Hunter’ Heroes events.