By PETE DELEA
Daily News-Record 6/24/19
HARRISONBURG — Over the past few years, Shannon Lokey ran a few obstacle races in several states, but for the last three years, mid- June has been dedicated to a Harrisonburg race.
Lokey, 49, of Penn Laird, was among several hundred people to participate in the annual Harrisonburg Police Foundation Adventure Race at the Harper-Presgraves Training Facility on Greendale Road in Harrisonburg. The facility is home to HPD’s SWAT team’s obstacle course, which is the main draw for the race.
“It’s great for the community,” he said. “Last year, we got to support the veterans and this year we get to support the police.”
This is the first year the foundation has organized the event. In the race’s first three years, Chad Layman, owner of Fine Earth in Harrisonburg, sponsored the competition.
Last year, the race attracted more than 700 participants, several thousand spectators and raised roughly $ 127,000 for the Florida-based K9s For Warriors. The program provides service dogs to veterans as a way of helping them deal with PTSD.
This year, the money raised will remain local, to help the police department. The funds will go toward projects and causes that might not receive city budget funding.
A bulk of the proceeds will go toward funding Chief Eric English’s plans to create youth programs in the city.
English, who became chief on Sept. 10, has said he wants to get police more involved with after- school activities for children.
The chief said he’s pleased to see so many people willing to help out.
“The support we’re getting has been tremendous,” he said, adding that the funding will help launch new programs. “It’s providing some options for us.”
Auxiliary Lt. Robert Barnard, who serves as the foundation’s chairman, helped organize the race. In addition to raising money, he said, the goal of the race was to introduce the community to police officers.
HPD put on K- 9 and drone demonstrations and had meet- and- greet opportunities with those tasked with patrolling the city’s streets.
“A police department is the community’s police department,” Barnard said. “The community needs to know their police officers.”
While not from Harrisonburg, Cheyenne Cockrell participated in the race.
It was the 27-year-old Staunton resident’s first time running an obstacle course race.
“The obstacles were challenging but, at the end, you’re proud you did it,” she said.
She said knowing the event was supporting a good cause helped her get to the finish line.
“It’s definitely a motivator,” she said.