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By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON — A more than nine-mile run across Collingsworth County is helping bring national attention to the fight against cancer.
Brad Brashears took up the baton on the nine-and-a-half mile stretch at 1:12 p.m., Oct. 8, that started at County Road 270 on the Magnum Highway and took him to Wellington. Brashears mother, Dianne Reyolds, lives in Shamrock, so he volunteered to run this portion of the cross-country relay. Brashears currently lives in Ft. Morgan, Colo.
The Great American Relay began at 9 a.m. Sept. 15 in Boston. With 5- to 22-mile stages, 379 runners signed up for the cancer awareness race across the country to the Santa Monica Pier in California by Oct. 21.
Brashears, who is a 1986 graduate of Shamrock High School, headed south on Highway 83 where Angie Sonnenberg took the baton at 2:47 p.m. to run from Wellington along Highway 83 to SH 256. Another runner, Acension Fierro, picked up the route at 4:42 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 83 and SH 256 toward Memphis.
At 6:37 p.m., an unknown runner took the trek from County Road 2 to Rt 287 and FM 1619. Mark Walker carried the baton from 1619 to Estelline at 8:32 p.m. for the last runner on Oct. 8.
The morning of Oct. 8, Megan Varnell ran the 9.5-mile stage along State Highway 9 from Reed, Okla. to Vinson, Okla. beginning at 9:40 a.m. Varnell is the fiancé of Jack Allen, a 2006 graduate of Wellington High School, according to Jack’s grandmother, Freida Allen, of Vinson.
Varnell arrived in Vinson at 11:15 a.m. where Angelia Finnegan took over from Vinson across the state line to County Road 270 in Collingsworth County, 11.7 miles.
According to relay organizers, start times are based on a 10-minute mile.
“We do our best to keep things on time to respect the time of the later in the day runners,” according to the relay staff. “If you are more than 10 minutes slower for your stage, I’m going to send the following stage off. I’ll wait to get the baton and catch up to the runners by car. We obviously would like all handoff to happen in person so do your best to be on time. This is so the late stage runners aren’t starting two or three hours late. Let’s do our best to help them out and respect their time.”
Whether luckily or skillfully, Brashears made his trek through Collingsworth County on schedule. Brashears is also the son of the late Truman “Bud” Brashears.
Funds raised from the race benefit American Association for cancer research.
For more information, visit greatamericanrelay.com.