By LINCOLN DAVIDSON
Fellowship and fun were just as much the issues of the day as fundraising at the Access to Success Foundation’s Andrew Lovedale 5K Saturday morning, Sept. 6. Fans watched as 173 local runners competed on the cross country course behind Davidson College’s Baker Sports Complex in the annual event that raises funds for underprivileged youth in Benin City, Nigeria.
In the men’s division, first place went to Hagood Grantham, who crossed the finish line at 17 minutes, 42 seconds. Following him were Davidson College political science professor Russell Crandall in second (18:29) and Martin Harrison in third (19:03).
In the women’s division, Catherine Doyle took first place with a time of 20:56. Rebecca Julian came in second place (23:19) and Ashley Neff took third place (23:52), jumping ahead of Kelsey McKillop (23:53) in the last 100 meters of the race.
Organizers have not yet announced the amount of money this year’s 5K raised. Funds raised will go primarily to building facilities for an after-school program for children in Benin City, Nigeria, said Andrew Lovedale, Access to Success (A2S) founder and former Davidson College basketball player. Benin City is Mr. Lovedale’s hometown.
“We’ve bought land, we want to develop an after-school program for these kids to help them play, to help them develop,” said Lovedale. “Kids need a place to play and we’re providing that to them – that’s what this race is all about.”
While the focus of the 5K was raising funds for A2S, Lovedale reminded runners that the event was also an opportunity to meet and socialize with fellow runners and a chance to celebrate what A2S has achieved already.
“This Saturday isn’t just about raising money, it’s also about celebrating the inherent good in society and the fact that where you are born doesn’t have to determine where you go,” Lovedale told DavidsonNews.net last week. A2S is already seeing the fruits of its labors in Nigeria: Earlier this year, a youth who participated in one of the foundation’s programs received a scholarship to attend Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, VA.
Saturday’s festivities also included a dunk tank where participants could make a donation for a chance to dunk a member of the Davidson College men’s basketball team. After more than $500 was raised through the dunk tank alone, Davidson Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach Jim Fox volunteered to take a turn in the tank as well.
“After all those miles he made me run, it will be fun to see him get wet,” joked Mr. Lovedale.
The Davidson College basketball teams were heavily involved in this year’s 5K. Several current and former members of the men’s and women’s teams ran in the race and men’s head coach Bob McKillop volunteered to hand out awards and tend bar at the after-party held at Brickhouse Tavern. Also running in the race was the entire Davidson College women’s lacrosse team.
“It makes me so happy to see the whole Davidson community throwing its weight behind one of its own,” Lovedale said. “We have something good here. This is really benefiting a lot of kids.”
Despite the success A2S has had in impacting youth in Benin City, the foundation’s work is nowhere near complete, Lovedale said. “The more you succeed, the more you realize there’s more to be done.”
Before the race began, Lovedale reminded runners the part they play in what A2S does. “I want everyone to remember that no matter where you finish, you’re helping someone finish in a better place in life.”
Sept. 6, 2013 – Lovedale says his 5K saturday is about more than fundraising