I was a spectator and photographer for the race described below. My account is based on accounts from people who race the race, as well as walking the course myself.

Race: Race for Hope

Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)

When: Last Saturday in September

Where: Perquimans County Recreation Center, Herford, North Carolina

Who hosts/benefits from the race:  The John A. Holmes High School (Edenton, NC) Project Purple hosts the race. It is a group that raises awareness to substance abuse and offers alternatives activities for teens. The race itself is part of Mayday, a festival raising addiction awareness.

Race fee: $30 on race day/ $20 for students

What you get: A tech shirt and bandana, fruit and trail mix and water afterward

Prizes: Trophies for the top three overall male and female winners, medals for the top two in the age groups (goes by five years starting at 6-14).

Course: Race for Hope’s course is mostly asphalt, being held on a path in the park and on the roadway. There are also two portions near the beginning and end of the race that are on gravel trails in the center’s park. Those trails are along the banks of the Perquimans River, so you may need bug spray if you’re worried about bugs.

Description: This course is a mostly flat course that starts on asphalt for 100 feet or so and then heads into a trail. The trail loops around in the forest and then you head back on the asphalt heading out of the park. Once out of the park, you run down the road leading to the park and eventually make a U-turn, heading back into the park. The path is pretty well marked with signs and cones.

There is a sweeper who ran in the beginning of the race and then again later to check for any participants out on the course.

When you finish, you get a card with where you placed in the race — winner gets the card with a 1 on it. They fill out the card with your time and place it on the board that has pegs for each age group. They then collect the cards and then determine the winners. It’s a small race, with the exception of a few age groups, most people who participated got something.

For the second year of the race, I was surprised by how smoothly it ran. Except for a few people getting lost on the trails and at the finish line (some people turned back to the start rather than follow the yellow flags), it was well marked.

It was a small, simple race with everyone cheering everyone else on at the end. As a spectator and family member of a few participants, I enjoyed it. There is a playground nearby for the kids and a skateboard park near the finish line. Since the race was held as part of a bigger event, we were able to check out the event some too. And the view of the Perquimans River at sunrise was something to behold.

If you like a small, no frills race, check out Race for Hope.