Saturday morning participants for the Justin Pepper 5K: Walk, Run, Ruck began to file into the parking lot of Palmetto Bone & Joint in Chapin for the third annual run hosted by The Justin Pepper Foundation.

This year, things were a little different. Physical therapists, from Drayer Physical Therapy checked temperatures on Ellett Road and placed smiley face stickers on the participants as they approached the venue. Mask were required and participants were staged in the parking lot on colored dots, six feet apart, based on their average run time, to ensure social distancing guidelines were met.

At 7 am, the participants moved behind the start line, still keeping the social distancing requirements. Strictly Running, a race timing company from Columbia, was on hand to ensure the participants were timed properly and volunteers only allowed five people at a time to approach and cross the start line to begin their race.

Along the route were signs reminding everyone to keep social distance. Two water stops were provided. A Sonic Tater Tot waved at runners just passed mile one as they grabbed water bottles from a table. B106.7 FM played some jams in the mile two turnaround, where water was again available.

At the finish line participants were directed to cool down in the parking lot at a safe distance from each other, grab a bottle of water or Gatorade, and go on about their day. The Awards Presentation was posted on Facebook by the Race Director, Kari Pepper McKeone, and Summer James, from B106.7. Medals not picked up at the three stated times around town, are being mailed.

“We couldn’t have pulled this off without the support of our sponsors, especially the doctors form Palmetto Bone & Joint and Dr. Ben Pinner from Pinner Clinc in Peak, who made sure we were doing everything the safest way possible and were here to provide assistance to participants, if needed,” said McKeone. “We are also grateful for Drayer Physical Therapy, for providing a temperature check station. Exercise is important and we need opportunities to get out of the house and get some fresh air. This took a little extra effort, but was worth it to see the smiles, not just on the stickers, but on their faces.”

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