Running down memory lane

Pictured is last year’s participants of the 5K run that took place at the Valley Head Cemetery. 

Pre-registration is available online at by Oct. 21, and on-site registration is from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. the day of the race. 

Registration forms are also available at Nena’s Produce and General Store in Valley Head located at the foot of Lookout Mountain. 

The Valley Head Cemetery is gearing up for its 4th annual Memory 5K and 10K Run.

Event Organizer Sherryl Lewis said they started the run in 2016. She said the primary goal is to raise funds for the Valley Head Cemetery.

“All the proceeds go directly to the cemetery,” she said.

According to Lewis, this year's run has grown and changed location.

“The new route will start and finish at the Valley Head Town Square,” she said.

The 5K/10K run is set for Oct. 26 and will commence at 8 a.m. rain or shine, followed by the fun run.

The funds from the run will cover the expenses of up keeping the Valley Head Cemetery.

“Our major expense is the mowing,” Lewis said.

She said most people don't realize how much it costs to maintain a cemetery and the cost of just the mowing.

“At Valley Head, there are over 600 monuments that have to be mowed around and trimmed around,” Lewis said.

According to Lewis, that doesn’t include all the trees, shrubs and flowers that also have to be mowed and trimmed around every time they mow.

She said it’s a big project every time it gets mowed.

“Whatever I raise from the sponsors, the memorials and the runners and of course, the donations that come through the year, that determines how many times and how often we can mow it the following year,” said Lewis.

Lewis said this year in addition to the new location, they have also added a 10K as requested by previous runners.

“The route will take runners on a scenic run up Violet Hill Road and back to the town square,” she said.

According to Lewis, they usually have “a decent turnout.”

“There’s been several people that have already signed up for the 10K, who asked for it the last couple of years,” she said.

Also new to this year’s run is timing provided by PinPoint Timing.

Participants can pre-register online at by searching “Valley Head Cemetery Memory Run.”

Lewis said they would also have on-site registration and packet pickup from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. the day of the race.

The 5K and 10K registration is $25 per person, and Fun Run is $20 per participant.

Participants who do not want to run/walk but wish to donate may do so.

According to Lewis, those who pre-register by Oct. 21 are guaranteed a T-shirt.

“Cash prizes will be awarded to the overall male and female winners in the 5K and 10K races,” said Lewis.

Also, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals would be awarded to winners in each age category for the 5K and 10K.

Lewis said since she started the run, they have managed to start mowing the cemetery more often and were able to repair the pavilion.

“We have put a new roof on the pavilion and replaced all the wood with vinyl,” she said.

Lewis said they still have their ongoing driveway project.

“The driveway is in bad shape,” she said. “We are working on it, but the main thing is finding the funds to complete the project,” she said.

According to Lewis, aside from donations from people throughout the year, this is the only fundraiser they have to help fund the cemetery.

“If I can raise more [funds], than we can put some of that toward our driveway project, and we can work at getting it [the cemetery] mowed more often,” Lewis said.

She said they have the run every fall and proceeds, along with donations, help cover expenses and any contributions are welcome.

“The businesses in and around Valley Head, including Henagar, Mentone and Fort Payne, have been very nice and generous to help sponsor it,” Lewis said.

She said they would also be giving away “great door prizes.”

“Come run with us and join the fun,” she said.

She said a full list of sponsors and memorials would be posted on their Facebook page.

In addition, Lewis said there are several families in the area that had sponsored a memorial for their loved one, and they run in their memory.

Registration forms are available at Nena’s Produce and General Store in Valley Head located at the foot of Lookout Mountain.

For updates, check out their Facebook page @valleyheadcemetery5K.

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