This past weekend, more than 140 runners ran along the shores of Neely Henry Lake and through Gadsden in support of the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit. This was the fifth year for the Etowah Heroes 5K Run/Walk, hosted by the Gadsden Runners Club.

The race began in 2012 when two officers from the unit were injured and funds raised were donated to cover their medical expenses.

The unit includes certified and noncertified deputies who volunteer hundreds of hours each month, with no financial compensation, in support of the sheriff’s office. The reserve deputies serve in many capacities including working uniformed patrol service, providing search and rescue assistance and transporting prisoners.

“We run this race as a way to thank the officers who dedicate their time to help us,” said Cassandra Lewis, co-chair of this year’s race. “They block off the streets for our races, help keep us safe and we want to show them how much we appreciate them by running this race each year.

Lewis and co-chair Becky Strunk are members of the Gadsden Runners Club, a nonprofit organization that encourages running and being active in the Gadsden community.

“It’s a great way to be out in the community. We offer running divisions for all levels, from a couch to 5K training program to trail runs,” said Lewis.

The group has weekly runs including a ladies group, beginners and distance training. Its members host and participate in dozens of races each year.

For more information about the Gadsden Runners Club, visit Learn more about the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit at

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