FWKCC 5k, Fun Walk theme is veterans, SMSD tributes

Farragut runners can show their appreciation to veterans and four-legged friends when Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Farragut Fall 5K Run & One-Mile Fun Walk.

This year’s event will take place on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, at Mayor Bob Leonard Park off North Watt Road and will offer some surprises this year.

“We’re very, very honored that we get to hold our event on Veterans Day, and because of that we certainly wanted to recognize those who have served and provided us with the freedoms we enjoy,” said Julie Blaylock, president/CEO of FWKCC.

As part of that tribute, she said there is a discount on the registration fee for participating veterans and active military and “we are encouraging our participating businesses to include treats for veterans” in goody bags.

“So, there will be additional discounts for veterans in their goody bags,” Blaylock added. “And, we’re going to have a brief ceremony that’s going to recognize those veterans who are present with us that day.”

Along with the discounts and ceremony, the Chamber’s participating charity, which will receive a portion of the registration fees, is Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. She said the organization, which trains dogs at a cost of $25,000 per dog, donates each dog to an approved veteran for free.

“It does a lot of great work in this area to serve veterans who need mobility assistance,” Blaylock said.

The 5K race and One-Mile Fun Walk both start at 8 a.m.

There will be on-site pre-registration check-in from 7 to 7:30 a.m. for those who have already registered on line. There also will be on-site registration for those who have not yet registered but decided they want to participate in the 5k or walk.

Participants who pre-register by Saturday, Nov. 4, for either the 5k or the walk, the entry fee is $25.

“On top of that, if they are active military or veterans, they will get a $5 discount, so it will only be $20,” Blaylock said.

If a group registers for a team of four or more, that group also will get a $5 discount for early registration and only pay $20.

From Nov. 5 to race day morning, however, there will be a $5 increase.

“So a regular registration up to race day will be $30. But again, if they are active or veteran military or if they are part of a team of four or more, they will still get a $5 discount [off the $30],” Blaylock said.

Another new feature of the race this year is for Fun Walk participants who bring their dogs. They have the opportunity to participate in a “pack walk” led by canine behaviorist and trainer Lincoln Arthur DeSouza, who works with an area veterinarian and who graduated from Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan’s program.

Blaylock explained a pack walk essentially is a walk with multiple dogs.

“[DeSouza] is well-versed in leash-handling techniques, behavior techniques and he has led many, many pack walks,” she said, adding DeSouza will have other trainers with him, giving tips and techniques.

“And the first 50 dogs who cross the walk finish line get a special doggy bag of goodies,” Blaylock added.

Watt Road will close at 7:30 a.m. so registrants are encouraged to arrive as early as possible and to park at Harrison Road side of the park because the Watt Road side may be reduced because of construction in the park.

To register and for more information, visit the Chamber’s website at farragutchamber.com.

“This is a U.S.A. Track & Field-sanctioned event, and we will have Knox County Sheriff’s Office [assisting with traffic],” Blaylock said.

“It’s a great event for community members and church groups and organizations because we encourage all ages to come out, enjoy the morning, enjoy each others’ company and help us help a great cause,” she added.

“Teams of four don’t all have to run the race or do the walk. They can choose to split up their teams to do each event.”

Presenting sponsor is Town of Farragut.

Media sponsors are farragutpress and i105.3 WFIV-FM radio.

Community sponsors are Autumn Care Assisted Living, First Utility District, Foxy Locks Pet Grooming, Invisible Fence Brand of East Tennessee, Liberty Mutual Insurance Agents Nicole Dabbs and Adam Freitag, Max Potential Farragut, NHC Farragut and Planet Fitness Farragut.