Posted Date: 01/25/2021
In most sporting arenas, combatants wage war with a winner take all attitude. Although cross country runners also have that killer instinct to win, the commardery between opponents isn’t always adversarial. Truth be known, most runners pull for each other as the course is the true enemy.
This past weekend, three Mansfield Lady Tigers joined forces with a rival runner. Headlined as Amelia’s Gift, the cause was an effort to support the birthday wishes of 15 year old cross country runner Amelia Morgan of Greenwood.
Ameila’s Gift was a 5K race directed by Jennifer Morgan, Ameila’s mother, per the wishes of her teenage daughter. In lieu of personal birthday gifts, Amelia requested a fundraising event to benefit Grace School in Uganda.
Mansfield juniors Faith Rainwater, Hope Rainwater, and Darby Jones answered the call as word of the unselfish act spread throughout the cross country community. Lady Tiger Katlynn Moore also registered for the race but was unable to attend.
The Mansfield distance racers, all members of the 2020 2A State Runner-up Team, love to compete and found the opportunity to join in the “Gift” equally exciting.
Money raised through entry fees for the 5K race around Shadow Lake in Greenwood were earmarked to support the Morgan’s Pastor, Graig Smith, in his Village 2 Village ministry and Grace School. The Tiger trio along with several local runners scheduled race times throughout the morning and afternoon of Saturday, January 23, the day after Amelia’s birthday.
Described by her mother as a girl that “has a very giving heart and loves to help other people”, Amelia has been instrumental in requesting various fundraising scenarios since her eighth birthday. Rather than receive gifts for that particular birthday celebration, the forward thinking little girl gathered shoes for an orphanage in Haiti. Every year since, it has been one project or another to help others.
The Mansfield runners have been extremely motivated since their highly successful cross country season. Since the second semester of school resumed, Faith Rainwater and Darby Jones in particular have been logging extra miles to stay in shape for their upcoming track season. In fact, just two weeks ago the pair each recorded at least 40 miles of distance racing for the seven day period.
Despite a numbing 28 degrees Farenheit the morning of the race, the urge to compete while supporting a worthy cause was all that was needed for those that participated in Amelia’s Gift.
Pictured are Mansfield distance runners Hope Rainwater, Faith Rainwater, and Darby Jones at the Amelia's Gift 5K in Greenwood.