First Bank, Botetourt County Rotary Club, and Botetourt County Schools continue to plan a Fall Run each year for the community in the historic Town of Fincastle, Virginia. There is a 5K and 10K course and it is always the third Saturday in October. In 1987, the first race began with just over 150 runners. In 2022, the run had more than 600! This year we expect to continue the excitement and history on Saturday, October 21, as participants run through the streets of Fincastle towards the finish line. Many different individuals participate: young, old, serious world class competitors, and some that simply walk it for the sheer pleasure. Botetourt Rotary Club began collaborating with First Bank three years ago to support this significant community event bringing more community involvement to the planning table. The planning team wants everyone to have a good time doing something that promotes a healthy lifestyle and builds community and character.
First Bank has graciously continued as primary sponsor to support the race and continue this mission. We are now going in our 37th year of running and each year we get asked the same question, “Why do we continue?” Well, after so many years there are many reasons but when it comes down to it… we would have to say it’s about commitment. When Richard Pauley, a local cross-country advocate, approached the bank in 1985, The Bank of Fincastle (now First Bank) seized the idea as a way to contribute to the well-being of Botetourt’s children and to involve people from all areas of the county.
We’ve often said, “You just have to be there.” It is amazing to see the faces of each runner as they start and finish their run. It all begins with “runners take your mark” then you hear the smack of running shoes on the pavement, and the cheers and clapping of those who faithfully watch from the sidelines. In just under 15 minutes the first runner will cross the finish line, exhausted yet exhilarated. Then, runner after runner will cross the finish line, each one a winner because they had a goal and they accomplished it. Few people realize the magnitude of organizing an event of this type. The race committee has dedicated thousands of hours over the past 37 years managing and organizing the race. Our commitment and enthusiasm bring it all together and make it work.
Each year prior to the race the planning team reaches out to the community for sponsors and contacts the Botetourt County Schools to get the school coaches and students excited. The local schools form teams and begin practices. They learn team building and set goals together. The First Bank Fall Run has become an intricate part of this community.
Our team designs the race shirts using art from a local Botetourt student and community sponsorships throughout Botetourt and the Roanoke area. This is truly a community effort. Our race shirts have become famous and we have spotted them on people states away. We see locals and children wearing them at the grocery store or around town.
On the day of the race the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department closes the streets in the Town of Fincastle to keep runners safe while volunteers handle registration, sort trophies and medals, work as road guards, and prepare for the thrill of the shotgun start!
First Bank provides a Fall Run Scholarship Award for local high school seniors. For the student to be eligible they must have competed in at least one First Bank Fall Run, be involved in a running sport in high school, and provide letters of recommendation along with their application. The Scholarship is in the amount of $1000. The recipient is announced and celebrated at the school’s Senior Awards Assembly.
Join us for the 2023 First Bank Fall 5k and 10k Run on Saturday, October 21 at Central Academy Middle School and let the fun begin! If you are interested in supporting this event as a volunteer please visit signupgenius.com 2023 First Bank Fall Run. All volunteers receive a 2023 race shirt.
~ Botetourt Rotary Club