COVINGTON, Ga. — Lt. Allen Martin, of the Covington Police Department, said he can’t wait for Sept. 11.
Thousands are expected to gather at Legion Field in Covington next Saturday for the 38th annual Fuzz Run, which is a race event held to raise money for the Police Who Care Fund.
As the race was originally intended, Martin said proceeds are used to support officers who were injured or families of officers killed in the line of duty. A few years ago, the fund helped Covington’s own officer Matt Cooper after he was shot in the head while responding to a shoplifting call in September 2018. After undergoing several surgeries and intensive therapy, Cooper was able to return to duty in 2020. He said the community played a major role in his recovery.
“The community really stuck behind me in this whole process,” Cooper told The Covington News in 2020. “I was not able to take care of my family, but guys came by, cut our grass and helped us with stuff. Just being there as another support really helped me out, and I’m proud of that.”
Martin also said the Police Who Care fund had also been used to assist law enforcement officers and other first responders in need across the metro area.
“There was a Butts County officer whose house caught fire [in April of 2020],” Martin recalled. “We made a donation to that family. And there’s been several other similar situations where we’ve helped out when we could.”
In addition to aiding first responders, Martin said the fund also helps support local initiatives and charity organizations such as The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Special Olympics, YMCA, Miracle League and Shop with a Cop, among others.
“That, to me, is what this is all about,” Martin said. “That’s why we get so excited for the race each year. Seeing our community come together and help raise money to support these causes — it’s money that goes directly back into our community — it’s rewarding to see that happen each year.”
To officially kick off the Fuzz Run, Martin said the Arts Association was partnering with the Covington Police Department to host a concert Friday at Legion Field, featuring 80s tribute band “Members Only.” Music starts at 7 p.m.
Because this year’s event falls on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Martin said first responders who worked those areas at the time would be recognized before the race begins.
The Fuzz Run will start at 8 a.m., featuring a one mile fun run, a 5K race and Mary Beth’s Red Bird Run — an event specifically for ages 5 and under named in honor of Mary Beth Malcom, who is the late daughter of Capt. Ken Malcom and Cindi Malcom.
Anyone wishing to participate can register for the race at covingtonfuzzrun.com. There will also be a registration period shortly before the race Saturday.
Martin said anyone living along the race route should expect delays as various roads will be blocked off. He said roads should be reopened and traffic back to normal by approximately 9:30 a.m.
The Fuzz Run has drawn about 3,000 runners, walkers and spectators for nearly the last 20 years. The race has won the “Best Race in Georgia” award four times, which is voted on by runners participating in the “Run and See Georgia Grand Prix Series.”
Last year’s event was limited to a virtual setting. The 2021 race will be a live and in-person event with a virtual option.