Annual Darleen’s Flamingo 5K slated for Saturday

Published 7:42 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

BELHAVEN — Saturday is a special day for the Smithton community.

It will honor one of its own that morning with the eighth-annual Darleen’s Flamingo 5K on Hubs Rec Road. The 5K is organized every year in honor of the late Darleen Smith, a lifelong resident of eastern Beaufort County and former librarian at Northeast Elementary School who passed away from cancer in 2010.

Last year’s event raised $20,000 for the Shepard Cancer Foundation, according to Nikki Klapp, Darleen Smith’s daughter. That was an increase from the previous year, which raised about $17,000.

“We are just extremely grateful to our sponsors, donors and our community of volunteers because without them it wouldn’t be possible,” Klapp said. “They go above and beyond.”

Morning registration begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, and the race kicks off at 9 a.m. The terrain is flat and paved, weaving 3.1 miles through the Smithton area just outside of Belhaven. Awards will be given to the top-three male and female finishers overall, as well as the oldest racers. Awards will also be presented for each age group: 15 and under, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-plus.

As with every year, the race is a nod to Darleen’s beloved personality — the bright pink flamingos and theme of “Make Your Own Party” speak to the warmth and positivity she exuded, according to Klapp.

Klapp said the 5K brings out support from community members, local businesses, supporters from Northeast Elementary and personal friends of Smith’s, who all want to honor her memory.

As an immediate relative, Klapp said seeing this level of support means a lot to her and the rest of the family.

“It’s almost overwhelming that I know they’re there because of my mom,” she said.

Online registration ended last night, but race-day registrations are welcome for the same $25 fee. Non-racers are also invited to come out to cheer on the runners and show their support for the cause. Organizers will provide a homemade breakfast for the runners after the race, Klapp said.