The banquet, set to be held Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., in the Krannert Ballroom at Berry College, precedes the annual #JamieStrong Rome Half Marathon, presented by Redmond Regional Hospital, which will be held Dec. 8 at State Mutual Stadium.
In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, the event, presented by GoGo Running, also includes a half-marathon relay and a 5-kilometer race.
“We are very excited that Michelle will be speaking this year,” race director Jay Stephenson said. “Through hard work and perseverance she emerged as one of the top runners in the country but more importantly, she learned how to be successful in life. I know her message to our young athletes will be an inspiring one.”
After earning multiple all-state honors in track and cross country at Model, Michelle added to her lists of accomplishments at Berry where she became an NAIA National Champion in the marathon and a 12-time NAIA All-American in cross country and track.
In her final race before graduating from Berry, the 1999 NAIA National Track & Field Championships, Michelle bested the marathon field covering the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 58 minutes and 40 seconds. She still holds Berry school records in the 3,000-meters (10:01), 5,000 (17:10) and 10,000 (35:58.)
In the last six years, the Rome Half Marathon has raised nearly $14,000 for the area high school running programs. Schools that have received financial help include Armuchee, Coosa, Model, Pepperell, Rome, Calhoun, Gordon Central, Rockmart, Darlington, Providence Prep Academy, St. Mary’s, Cedartown and Unity Christian.
Some of these schools have only had volunteers at the race for one year while others have participated with volunteers each year, which is the requirement for schools to be eligible for a donation.
The Rome Half will once again benefit Rome-area middle and high school running programs this year while also honoring the memory of Roman Jamie Hughes, who battled Osteosarcoma — a very rare but aggressive bone cancer that attacks children during growth spurts — for more than a year before the teen passed away last month.
All of the races start and end at State Mutual Stadium, with the 5K starting at 8 a.m. and the half marathon and relay starting at 8:05. Half marathon, relay, and 5k finishers receive long sleeve tech T-shirts and will enjoy a post-race pancake breakfast provided by the Rome Braves.
To register and for more information on the 2018 #JamieStrong Rome Half Marathon, Half Relay and 5k, and the GoGo Running All-Area Banquet, go to www.romehalf.com or contact GoGo Running at The Shoe Box at 706-291-0752.