‘Runnin’ for Randy’

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Annual Labor Day 5K gives back

By Kacie Goode

Prior to firing the gun, participants in Monday’s Labor Day 5K/10K event bowed their heads and closed their eyes in prayer.


“We gather on behalf of our friend Randy, whose body is not going the way that it is supposed to go,” said Nelson County High School track and cross country coach Dan Bradley, leading the prayer from atop a ladder.

The event is something NCHS started hosting five years ago as a way to support the team and students. Over the years, guests of honor have received recognition at the race, but this year was different.

Participants were running for Randy Pinkston, a golf coach and teacher with the Nelson County school system, who has been battling cancer.

“We have very high hopes that he is going to come through this victorious,” Bradley told runners at the starting line.

Pinkston, a father and the husband of New Haven City Commissioner and teacher Nicole Pinkston, was diagnosed in April 2015. With declining health, the family has traveled to areas such as Houston and Nashville for treatments and appointments.

A portion of Monday’s race proceeds went to help the Pinkston family with medical expenses.

There were 210 participants in the event this year, a record, Bradley said. He attributed the large turnout to the support the community has for Pinkston.

“He’s a really good guy. He’ll do anything for anybody,” even while fighting his own battles, said runner Jimmy Mouser, who was there with his sons.

Mouser hadn’t participated in a 5K before, but said he came out to support Pinkston.

“I know him personally,” through golf, he said.

Out of the five years NCHS has hosted the Labor Day event, a family in need has benefited twice from registration proceeds after costs and team needs are met. In the years that no need is recognized, proceeds go to Project Graduation.

“Anytime there is somebody that is brought to our attention — they have a connection to the team — we try to bless them,” Bradley said. “This year, everybody in the Nelson County Schools community, we all know about the seriousness of Randy’s illness; the struggles he’s gone through.”

The 5K was not the first time the education and sports communities had come together in support for Pinkston. Several other benefits have taken place over the past year, including baseball games and other events.

A donation was also taken up at Monday’s event, all of which will go to the family, Bradley said. He said if others are interested in continuing to donate, they can make a check payable to Nelson County Cross Country with the memo “Pinkston Donation” and 100 percent of that will go to the family.

After the race Monday, it was announced that more than $1,500 had been raised for the Pinkston family.

In addition to supporting a member of the local community, Bradley said the event offers something a little different for those who love to run. Three years ago, the Labor Day event added a 10K into the mix.

“We were really looking for something to be able to offer the athletes who know that there is a glut of 5Ks around here,” he said. And the 10K attracts several runners, including teams, each year.

Check kystandard.com for the list of Monday’s winners.