Rome High’s Real is the real winner of Harbin Hero Hustle
In spite of the all the super heroes in the race, Rome High senior Esdras Real ran away from the field at the Harbin Hero Hustle 5K in Ridge Ferry Park Saturday night. Real said he beat his best previous 5K, 3.1-mile time by a full minute.
The event, a fundraiser for Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation, drew a record crowd of approximately 750 racers and walkers, many of them dressed in super hero attire, from Batman to Superman to Wonder Woman.
Esdras led a strong contingent of Rome High cross-country runners to the finish line. He said his best previous 5K was 16:59 and said the clock said 15:49 as he crossed Saturday night.
“I just felt real good,” Real said.
Parks and Rec Director Kevin Cowling said funds generated by the event help his agency put on a variety of free programming for the community, from the Movies in the Park series to the Independence Day fireworks display.
“It also helps our Special Needs programming,” Cowling said.
Jim Alred, a marketing specialist at Harbin, said the Hero Hustle grew out of an event that was called the Zombie-Thon.
The Zombie-Thon was very successful in its first two years but the crowd dropped off significantly in the third year. Alred said Betsy Hampson with the rec department thought something related to super heroes might be a good switch since all of the super hero movies have been major attractions.
“Harbin is a huge partner,” Cowling said. “It’s great to have such a great partner to put us in a position to be better able to serve the community.”
Cowling said last year’s event raised close to $15,000 and he was hoping to exceed that with the record registration this year.
Following the race, the rec department offered up Avengers Infinity War as part of its Movies in the Park series.