Start Your New Year On the Right Foot

Start Your New Year On the Right Foot

Begin 2017 with a Durham race that's become a longstanding tradition

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Lace up your running shoes and shake off any residual side effects from the night before when Carolina Godiva Track Club holds its annual New Year’s Day Run.

Dana Calder and Crystal Dreisbach at last year’s New Year’s Day Run.

Open to all ages, the 8K out-and-back course starts from Duke School on Erwin Road and heads through the hilly, graveled trails of Duke Forest before swinging back.

“Don’t expect age-group awards, live bands, an elaborate post-race spread or any special sense of empowerment from the experience, except what you can imagine for yourself,” says the run’s race director Patrick Bruer. “You’ll meet a lot of people who really enjoy running and have stories to tell.”

More than 30 years – ahem – running, the event is part of the club’s winter series. It started from humble beginnings at the Trinity Park home of Godiva club members Ellen Covey and Pete Casseday and ran along the wall of Duke’s East Campus. It quickly grew in size until traffic control problems forced organizers to move it off-road to its current location.

Runners warm up at the starting line at Duke School.
Runners warm up at the starting line at Duke School.

Sadly, one person who won’t be at the finish line is former club member Greg Sousa, who passed away from brain cancer this past July at the age of 47. As a tribute to the father of two, the club is dedicating this year’s series to him and will donate a portion of proceeds to Badousa Brain – a fundraising team that Greg formed for the Angels Among Us 5K, which is held in April and benefits Duke’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

“Greg made the very best of a dreaded situation,” Patrick says, “and inspired many of us with his warmth, optimism and will to overcome. We can think of no better way to carry on Greg’s legacy than by hitting the trails and running a lap in his honor this New Year’s Day.”

Race-day-only registration starts an hour before the 1 p.m. kickoff (specifically to allow for a few extra hours of sleep) and costs $5 for non-members (with free entry for those younger than 18). True to the club’s mission, it’s billed as a low-key event, with camaraderie trumping finish times.


Photography by Richard Neff Wolfe