The second annual Florence Forth road race was held on Durham’s Ninth Street business district. Over 1100 runners registered to run on that chilly Saturday, March 1st. The weather always seems to start cold on race morning. This was also the first year running a 10K race along with the 5K. The new course was focused on Durham’s neighborhoods and Duke’s East Campus. It required the help of 100+ volunteers and 50 police to keep the 1000 race participants safe.
With this being a new route we decided to mark the course with lime. As course-liming rookies, we decided to have one volunteer (Will’s father) sit in the back of a friend’s SUV with a bucket of lime and a bandana over their face to serve as a filter and shield the flying lime dust. Before long the operation was stopped by a Durham police car with lights and sirens. The officer, surprised to see a 70 year old man and not college shenanigans, allowed us to continue without further disturbances. The lime spreader was able to get slightly more on the road than on their body.
We are so fortunate to have the support of many sponsors including OMSA (Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Associates). OMSA has been a financial sponsor for every Florence Forth and this amazing group shows up every year to staff the registration and shirt tables on race morning. They always come out in force with smiles on their faces and we just absolutely love having them out on race day!
One of the goals in hosting Florence Forth is to bring attention to Autoimmune Encephalitis (AE) and to create a community for AE patients and families. In the second year of the race, we had families from Pennsylvania (Team Fall Risk) and Nebraska (Team Madison Fights the Madness) travel to participate in the race and meet one another. This impromptu gathering of AE families would grow in future years.
The 2014 Florence Forth raised $40,000 which was used to host the first International Autoimmune Encephalitis Conference ever! With the proceeds, the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance was able to bring two dozen doctors to Durham with many traveling from as far away as Australia, England, Canada, and all over the US. This was the first time many of the experts were in the same room to discuss diagnosis and treatment options for patients. Several years later, the first published diagnostic criteria were published from discussions at this symposium..
Shout Out to the 2014 Winners
Race and age group winners received a metal award from local Durham artists at Vega Metal. The winners of the 10K were a husband-wife team with TIbor Veigh in 32:08 and Kristina Vegh in 36:01. The winners of the 5K were Russell Westbrook in 19:46 and Madison Marvin in 22:40.