The CAYA Run for Your Life 5K was held at Rixeyville’s Verdun Adventure Bound on Saturday, drawing hundreds of local runners to the nature trail with the goal of raising money for substance abuse prevention and awareness.
CAYA, which is short for “Come As You Are,” is a nonprofit organization that seeks to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of substance abuse.
There were 326 registered runners for the 5K, which exceeded the organization’s expectations for the fourth annual event.
“That’s by far our largest turnout,” CAYA founder and CEO Moira Satre said of the number. “We’re absolutely thrilled with the number of people who participated.”
Satre said that she’s still awaiting a final number in terms of how much money was raised on Saturday, but she estimated it would be at least $30,000, which is what last year’s event brought in.
Proceeds, which came largely from the runners’ $35 entry fees, will go directly to substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, as well as other community programs that play a role in helping young people engage in positive, rewarding activities.
Proceeds from last year’s 5K sent local teens to a week-long alcohol and drug prevention program at Longwood University and supported adult recovery and youth dialogue programs in Fauquier County.
Also benefiting from the event’s proceeds were Culpeper Youth, the county’s Board of Supervisors youth leadership program, and its initiative to provide basic hygiene supplies for low income teens susceptible to bullying or targeting because of their appearance, as well as the Madison Football Association.
Satre, a Culpeper County resident who lost her son Bobby to a heroin overdose in 2015 before starting CAYA, talked with The Culpeper Star-Exponent last week about her personal connection to the organization’s cause.
“I feel like I know what it was like being in the trenches of [addiction] and I felt like we were a good family,” she said. “I just have a hard time with the stigma and people being very judgmental.”
Saturday’s event was split into multiple age groups. Craig Swain, a 16-year-old from Midland, had the best overall time of any runner in any category, clocking in at 19:53.23 to take the top spot in the 15-19 male group.
Ryan Godfrey, a 19-year-old Warrenton resident, was right behind Swain with a time of 21:56.21. He was followed by 21-year-old Josh Stead of Devon, Pa., who won the 20-24 male category at 22:09.32.
Sixteen-year-old Rachel Weghorst, of Sperryville, was the race’s top female performer, finishing fifth overall at 23:12.15. Nicole Latane, a 26-year-old from Remington, clocked in at 28:23.35, good for 12th.
Denise Landers, a 57-year-old from Marshall, turned in one of the more impressive performances of the day, finishing 14th overall with a 29:25.80.