For those looking to give back, exercise and have a good time all at once, the Covington Police Department (CPD) has the solution.
On Sept. 10, the CPD will host its 33rd annual Covington Fuzz Run, a community event that features a 5k road race, along with a one-mile Fun Run and a 50-foot sprint for kids aged 5 and under.
The first race began in 1984 with over 100 runners, but according to CPD Capt. Ken Malcom, participation once stalled.
“At one point, our race went down to 47 runners on our 10th race, and we almost canceled it the following year, but we decided that we wanted to give it one more try to see if we can encourage more participation,” he said. “We advertised a little bit and went from 47 runners to 180 runners. Then after that, we started doubling our numbers each year, and last year we had 2,985 registered participants.”
The Fuzz Run has evolved into one of the largest participatory events in the community and has been recognized as being the best 5k in the state, not just because of the race, but also for the overall event.
During the Fuzz Run, runners -- or walkers -- get a chance for fellowship with other community members and buy or receive gifts from local vendors. This year, there will be door prizes for participants.
Participants can also give back to the community. Proceeds from the race go toward the Covington Police Who Care Fund, a 501c3 organization started by the CPD that for the families of fallen Georgia police officers. It has since evolved to also benefit Newton County charities and individuals in need in Newton County.
“We give away thousands of dollars each year to groups or individuals in our community that experience some type of hardship,” Malcom said. “The fund has evolved into an organization that assists our entire community. It is something that has allowed us as police officers to help people in need. It’s a way of giving back, and it’s also a way for officers who have to see these hardships every day to help them deal with the tragedies that we see.”
This year, the CPD has partnered with the Newton County School System (NCSS) to give $2 per runner back to the Newton Education Foundation Grant to assist teachers with scholarship efforts.
“Our goal this year is to reach even more students, teachers and family members that have children in the NCSS to help us put money back into their grant,” Malcom said. “We gave them an initial gift last month of $1,000. It’s our hopes that with the school system behind us, we can easily give another $8- to 10,000 with a good response.
“This is as much of a community relations event as much as it is a fundraiser,” he said. “We always joke that this is the most fun you can have at the police station.”
The race will begin at 8 a.m. that Saturday morning, with the 5k starting and ending on Conyers Street.
Registration is $25 per individual for the 5k and $25 for the Fun Run. It is $25 for teams to run in the 5k and $10 per child for the Kid’s Dash. A Family 4 Pack can also be purchased for the 5k for $75.
To register, visit covingtonfuzzrun.com.