On a cool Saturday morning after finishing a 5K in Sherman, Heather Duley and the runners of the Spartans gathered to take part in another hobby of theirs- arts and crafts.
Knitting and crocheting, the girls created Christmas ornaments and stuffed animals, among other items, and the crafts will be sold at the Tallahatchie Riverfest, with the proceeds going toward the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We look forward to the Riverfest every year, because we love to run the 5K, and they just had the idea to get the booth this year and sell things to raise money for St. Jude,” Duley said. “I thought it was a great idea, and it’s a great team activity, and everyone’s been really supportive.”
Duley, who also coaches the cross country team at Blue Mountain College, is in her fifth year working with the Spartans. Wanting to run as a HERO in this year’s St. Jude races, Duley felt a calling to help not only the children of the hospital, but also Preston’s Pit Crew, the group she will run with.
“I wanted to be a part of Preston’s Pit Crew just to be supportive of an individual from our New Albany family who has had that experience with St. Jude,” she said.
The Spartans are a group of around 50 home school runners from the area. Using running as a source to interact with other home schooled children, the group competes in local 5K races throughout the year.
“There are not many athletic outlets for home school kids,” Duley explained, “but they have the opportunity to train together and run in 5K races, and I have others who run simply to fulfill their P.E. credit. They’re a great group of kids, and they’ve shown that they excel in other hobbies outside of running.”
Duley said the items made by the team members will be sold at the Riverfest, while other items will be donated for children at the hospital the day of the race.