Heard it Here

Wake Forest Students Cover Downtown Winston-Salem

Nighttime 5k Run Brings Variety of Runners Downtown

More than 1,000 runners hit the streets of downtown Winston-Salem on Friday, September 19th to compete in the 4th annual Moonlight Madness 5k.

The race, beginning at 8 pm, led runners from Merschel Plaza through the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and back to the center of downtown. Upon their return to Merschel Plaza, 5k runners were rewarded with a post-race party that included beer from Foothills Brewing, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, and a performance by DJ Fish with a light show.

Donnie Cowart (15:41), a 28-year-old from Winston-Salem, NC, and Natalie Lawrence (17:53), a 32-year-old from Greensboro, NC, were the respective male and female winners of the 5k (3.1 mile) .

“It’s an appealing venue for runners because it’s a nighttime race,” said David Bowden, of Germanton, NC. “And it’s electrified by the lights and excitement of the people.” Bowden, age 61, and his wife, who live about 20 minutes away, both signed up for the race because they enjoy running and this was one of the few races they were able to sign up for this year.

Downtown Winston-Salem residents sat outside of Tate’s Craft Cocktails watching the crowd gather in the street. Around ten minutes before the start of the race, runners gathered in the street at the starting line, with the more experienced runners practicing their starts out in the front. Fans, both friends and family, stood on the sidewalk, cheering on the runners with glow sticks and lights.

Runners line up at the Moonlight Madness 5k starting line, located at the intersection of Trade and West 4th Street.

Runners line up at the Moonlight Madness 5k starting line, located at the intersection of Trade and West 4th Street.

The 5k attracted both experienced runners, like the Bowdens, and new runners as well.

Jaclyn Maffetore, 22, a 2013 Wake Forest University graduate, and her friend Lily Marino, recently completed the “Couch to 5k program,” a beginner’s running program aimed at transforming participants from “couch potatoes” into 5k runners. The Moonlight Madness 5k was their first race since completing the program.

“The race is appealing because it is fun, not super competitive, and I hopefully won’t be judged since we’ll be running in the dark,” said Maffetore.

Marino, credited the fact that the two participated in the program together as a reason for their success, as she felt that just registering for the race was a milestone within itself.

After crossing the finish line, Marino talked about the first uphill stretch at the mile-and-a-half marker. However, she braved through the challenge and beat her goal time of 35 minutes, focusing her performance on the people she had lost in the past two years.

“My favorite part of the race was pushing myself through the tough parts. I lost my brother to colon cancer six months ago and today is the two year anniversary of my friend’s death,” said Marino. “I really dedicated this race to them as well as to my running partner, .”

The race was a part of the United Way of Forsyth County’s annual giving campaign, raising $9,000 towards the $16.5 million plan to improve the education, health care, and financial stability of its Winston-Salem residents in need.

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