Local workout group holds fundraiser to fight addiction

Published 7:45 pm Monday, April 3, 2023

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All F3 workouts end with the circle of trust that includes a prayer. (submitted)

After months of talking about how they could make an impact in the community, members of the Washington workout group, F3, will see their plans come to fruition with Saturday’s Exodus Run, a 5k/10k event that starts and ends at Mac Hodges Festival Park.

Several Beaufort County men started the group five years ago after encouragement from the Greenville chapter.

F3 stands for Faith, Fellowship and Fitness and holds 45 minute workouts at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and a one hour session Saturday’s at 7 a.m. Monday’s are reserved for Bible study and the group rucks for an hour on Wednesday’s and runs/walks on Friday’s.

“We’ve been talking about doing something to help men in our community since before Thanksgiving and finally settled on a race, since we are a fitness-oriented group,” Dr. Brian Ward, a Chocowinity resident and Greenville dentist, said. “We are really excited and hope Saturday is just the beginning of our community involvement.”

Ward credits group members Seth Edwards, Beaufort County District Attorney, and retired Army colonel and Chocowinity resident Mark Stevens,

for pushing the project forward.

“Those guys suggested we focus on men’s mental health and addiction, which is a huge problem in not only our community, but in all of Eastern North Carolina,” Ward said. “I think we’ve found an organization that is already doing great things and we’re glad to support them.”

Proceeds from the race will go to Dare Challenge, a Wanchese-based recovery program that helps area men heal themselves of substance abuse, severe depression and alcoholism. The organization is expanding and plans to add a wing to their facility.

“Before I went to Dare Challenge, I was getting arrested often and not present in my kids’ lives,” Washington resident and F3 member Austin Mitchell said. “I wasn’t being a good father or husband, but Dare Challenge helped change the trajectory of my life and it reestablished my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I am forever grateful.”

The Haw Branch Church of Christ is holding a community breakfast at 9 a.m. after the race. Everyone is welcome to eat pancakes and sausage even if they didn’t run in the event. Donations are accepted and will go to Dare Challenge.

“That’s the fellowship part of this event,” Ward said. “We want everybody to come out so we make sure Haw Branch runs out of food.”

Ward expects around 150 runners to participate and registration is open at runtheeast.com. Day of race registration is available and the runners will take their marks at 8:30 a.m.

“We hope this is the first of many community projects we’re involved in,” Ward said. It gives our group more exposure, so hopefully more young guys will come join us and bring their energy to help organize future events.

I’ve lost several childhood friends to addiction and if we can change even one man’s life, the work we’ve put in will be totally worth it.”