Inaugural Southside Dream Run in honor of MLK draws crowd

Racers depart from Anita Favors Thompson Plaza.
Photo Submitted by Bleu Bell.

The Rotary Club of Tallahassee Southside (RCTS) hosted the inaugural Rotary Southside Dream Run Saturday morning to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A diverse group of more than 200 participants met at Anita Favors Thompson Plaza for a one mile “fun run” and 5K race that raised an estimated $19,000 to support various south side projects.   The new USA Track and Field certified route extends along FAMU Way and through the Bond community.

“Sixty to 70 percent of people on the south side live at or below the poverty level,” Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil said. “There are also food deserts on the south side of Tallahassee, and with all those problems in mind it would be appropriate, particularly on the weekend of Martin Luther King’s holiday, that we talk about the urgency of now. We want to reinforce the fact that now is the time to get involved.”

Many local organizations came out to support the event, including the FAMU Federal Credit Union, Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, Omega Lamp Lighters, The Collegiate 100 of FAMU, Florida Black Girls RUN!, and Chocolate Waisted Fitness who lead a Zumba dance warm-up.

“Tell everyone that the south side needs us, and charity begins at home,” said Doreen Kabelo, RCTS president.

Other speakers were race coordinator Christic Henry, Miss Black Florida Tamara Smith, former Miss Black Florida Alexis Washington, County Commissioner Nick Maddox, and RCTS member Willie Williams. 

Race Coordinator Christic Henry motivates the crowd before 5K.
Photo Submitted by Bleu Bell.

Rhythmic drum beats were provided by Tocamos Mas, a local Latin music band.

Henry formed a motivational pre-race huddle followed by prayer led by the Rev. Quincy Devon Griffin, Sr. from the Family Worship and Praise Center.

Many children and young adults attended the event. The one mile race was won by 12-year-old Jamichael, and the 5K race was won by Rickards High School student Malachi Richards.

“When I found the opportunity to volunteer for the Rotary Club, I didn’t want to miss out. It’s a very special event. Many people take it seriously, and I want to be there to support and do as much as I can for them,” said Deaundre Newsome, a volunteer from the Collegiate 100 of FAMU.

RCTS shared information about this event with 50,000 households and distributed more than 10,000 flyers in the Big Bend area. All race proceeds will go to the Dare to Dream Association, Rotary District 6940 Foundation, Rotary’s End Polio NOW International Campaign, Southside Diabetes Health initiative, Southside schools and other annual service projects funded by RCTS.