CORDELE, GA (WALB) - After some brief instruction, runners hit the road at the Cordele Kiwanis Memorial Day celebration.
For some, it was their fifth race of the day. The organization has made a tradition out of hosting six different contests all on Memorial Day.
Race Director Benny Wade said the festival of running has become a great way to honor veterans who have died in battle.
"There's a whole lot more to Memorial Day as far as remembering people who didn't live long enough to get out and run," said Wade.
Cordele Kiwanis honored veterans of World War II and the Korean War with a ceremony at the end of last week.
Wade said they highlight those who have been called to duty and killed to show appreciation and help people understand their sacrifice.
"Just go out in the military section of a cemetery and look at the graves. You see somebody there who died giving service to their county at age 19. Now, you and I didn't have that problem," said Wade.
The organization has raised more than $80,000 through the series of races since they began nearly a decade ago.
Kiwanis secretary David Simmons said the Memorial Day event is critical to the group's mission.
"We can then promote our service projects and ultimately help children because that is what Kiwanis is all about. Children of the world. Primarily locally, but national and worldwide," said Simmons.
And that help means more scholarships, funds for the arts and sponsorships for Crisp County sports teams.
All that from an event that Wade said aims to make sure people never forget how much some in the military have given to protect the things we value.
The race director said they had a relatively high turnout for the running celebration this year.