JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — More than one thousand runners will be pounding the pavement during this weekend’s 12th annual Run for the Warriors event in Jacksonville.
The annual event allows members of the Jacksonville and Onslow County community to come out and support wounded warriors.
Using a handcycle, Eastern NC native Paul Kelly’s competed in over 100 races; 104 to be exact.
Kelly is a quadriplegic and injured himself in a swimming accident in the 70s. Now, he is part of the Hope for the Warriors family.
“I always say be careful who you inspire,” Kelly said. “Inspiration can be contagious. And I’m the recipient of a lot of inspiration. A lot of the inspiration comes from the men and women in uniform.”
On Saturday, about 1500 runners will turn out for the annual Run for the Warriors event. It benefits Hope for the Warriors, a national nonprofit founded aboard Camp Lejeune in 2006.
“We saw firsthand the effects of the war were having on families in the community,” Kristy Schwartz, Hope for the Warriors, said. “So from this race, we’ve turned into the national nonprofit that we are today and actually the series now spans up-and-down the whole eastern seaboard.”
Past races raised over $100,000 each year. That money goes directly back to the Hope for the Warriors support programs for military families.
“It’s also an opportunity for Eastern North Carolina to look them in the eye and say thank you.”
Races include a half marathon, 10k, 5k and a 1-mile walk/run. The race starts Saturday morning at 7:00 am at Jacksonville High School.