The Defiant Run II to add health fair

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Times-Journal Writer

The Defiant Run II, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25, has an added attraction this year – a health fair that will run concurrently with the half-marathon road race promoting the value of diversity.

The run will begin and end at the Selma Mall.

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It is inspired by a movie in which Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier starred, titled “The Defiant Ones.” The movie was about two shackled, escaped

prisoners – one black and one white – who made their way to freedom together.

The health fair will run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Selma Mall

and is being coordinated by Hank Clawson, ARRT(R), who is on Dr. Bruce Taylor’s staff.

Dr. Taylor recently sponsored the successful Black Belt Health Fair at the Selma Mall which attracted a large number of Selmians. The health fair is being paid for by Nonprofit Nation Corps through Taylor Internal Medicine.

Frank Hardy, primary organizer for the Defiant Run which is being held for the second year, said that the health fair and the run are a good fit.

“It’s critical that the community unite to deal with major health issues

as well as the problems of racism, bigotry and prejudice, if the community is to become what it is intended to be and, indeed, can be,” Hardy said.

“There are so many health resources available (in Selma and Dallas County) that people simply are not aware of. We will have a number of vendors of services represented so that those attending the run can become better acquainted with what’s out there for them,” said Clawson.

“Given the health statistics of the Black Belt in general and Selma and Dallas County in particular, health care is a major issue that must be addressed along with affirmation of the value of diversity and the need for racial reconciliation, not just in Selma and Dallas County, but in Alabama and the nation as well,” Hardy said.

“In fact my greatest hope is that this race will become an annual event, that it will attract

a national audience and major media attention,” he added.

According to Clawson, a number of screenings will be offered along with invaluable health information for participants and those coming to support those running.

Participants will run in racially diverse pairs consisting of men and/or women, shackled together by velcro.

Defiant Run II will consist of several categories of participants, each of which will be supporting the common goal. Runners will compete for cash prizes and trophies

to be given at the end of the race at the Selma Mall – first, second and third – for male pairs, female pairs, coed pairs and 14-and-under pairs.

Also invited to participate will be walkers, single individuals who are not shackled to another, and persons in wheel chairs as supporters of the goals of the run, Hardy said.

Hardy said that participants

are encouraged to be at the mall at 8:00 a.m. to register and pay the entry fee of $25 per person. At 9 a.m. the first group, walkers, will leave, followed by participants 14 and under, with the runners over age 14 leaving last.

A stopping point in the race – less than halfway – will be Bloch Park where those encouraging the participants are urged to gather and to cheer them on as they go through an obstacle course before finishing the race.

By staggering departures, planners hope that all will arrive at the park at about the same time, around 10 a.m.

The course will be laid out through the streets of Selma, and there will be persons stationed along the way to assist participants, including emergency care. The civic organization One Selma is coordinating the run marshals.

“This (Defiant Run II) is a collaborative effort and we want to attract more partners,” said Hardy. “We hope it will be a very successful event that will celebrate diversity and promote racial reconciliation. And through a community-wide effort, major needs can be addressed,” he said.

Hardy said that a special appeal is being extended to religious leaders and churches in the community to participate and to support those who are participating.

“We’re hoping that churches and other organizations such as schools – public, private and home-schooled –

will recruit participants and supporters, and sponsor those who are running by making tax-deductible donations to the Defiant Run. These gifts will support the purpose of the event. We’ve sent letters to all churches, but if we’ve left anyone out

or mail somehow did not get through, we strongly urge them to consider themselves invited and to support the Defiant Run.

Hardy thanked the many businesses and organizations that are already providing volunteers and in-kind contributions to make Defiant Run II possible.

“I feel so strongly that Selma is like an unopened gift. Everything that has happened here such as the Civil Rights and Voting Rights movement is a gift. We haven’t realized that it is a gift to the world. If we utilize the gift, not only will Selma but the whole nation will be better off.

Contributions should be made payable to The Defiant Run and sent to 1428 Union St., Selma, AL 36701. For information, call (334) 872-0426, or check the Web site: