Story and photo by Altima Sisavad / Contributing Writer
On the sunny morning of Saturday, the fifth annual Dairy Hill Stampede 5K and 10K race was held at the Middle Tennessee State University dairy farm.
The race began at 8 a.m. and the course ran along the country routes of Guy James Road and Brown Mills Road. The race started and ended at Dairy Hill, the steep hill leading to the dairy farm, which made the race a little more challenging, but a little more rewarding as well.
Despite 5K and 10K races being a popular method to raise money, the Dairy Hill Stampede is a one-of-a-kind race because runners get to run beside cows.
“I was running and I looked over and there was a cow,” said first-time Dairy Hill Stampede runner Pamela Bailey. “It made it a lot more fun to run seeing the cows instead of the usual street signs and parking lots.”
All ages were encouraged to participate at the Dairy Hill Stampede. There were over a hundred runners ranging from middle school-aged children to senior citizens. Many runners, families, volunteers and event members attended to make the event possible.
The Dairy Hill Stampede benefited the Farm Animal Care Coalition of Tennessee and United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties. FACCT is an educational resource that informs the public about the welfare of farm animals. United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties improves the lives of the community by education, health and financial stability. The Dairy Hill Stampede raised money to fund resources for the two organizations.
Phyllis Ferguson, the president of FACCT, said she was very excited for the race and very appreciative of MTSU’s dairy farm for hosting the race.
“This run helps share the beauty of agriculture with other people who might not get to see this everyday,” Ferguson said. “I believe agriculture and farm animal welfare is so important to everyday living.” Ferguson and the FACCT work with other organizations to better educate and train the community about the welfare of farm animals.
Nathan Pate, a volunteer with United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, participated in his second Dairy Hill Stampede by providing water to runners at one of the water stations.
“It’s beneficial for the whole community to raise awareness about agriculture,” Pate said. “I’m so glad to be helping the cows out. I will definitely do this again.”
There were many volunteers from United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties as well as many MTSU student volunteers that helped with providing water, keeping runners on the right path and cleaning, among other tasks.
At the end of the race, runners were rewarded with homemade snacks, a cowbell medal and MTSU’s famous chocolate milk fresh from the dairy farm.
Rick Insell, the head coach of the MTSU women’s basketball team, and some of his players on the women’s basketball team volunteered to hand out the cowbell medals to the runners while they finished. The cowbells were another unique touch to the race instead of the ordinary round medals.
The Dairy Hill Stampede was sponsored by the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, SharingChange, Farm Credit Mid-America, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Rutherford County Farm Bureau, Rutherford County Farmers Co-Op, Beyond Aquatics and Nave Truck Sales.
More information about the 2017 Dairy Hill Stampede can be found here.
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