Miles of Kindness celebrates community

Staff writer

Miles of Kindness delivered a day of foot races and fun for members of the Williamsburg community.

Miles of Kindness is a project of the LEAD Greater Williamsburg class of 2019. The program brings together local leaders, well-known faces and up-and-comers to collaborate on a project meant to address issues in the community.

Miles of Kindness comes as part of the culmination of WMBGkind, the class of 2019’s project that launched earlier this year, which focuses on promotion of random acts of kindness and inspiring kindness in the community.

“I love to see people happy. I love to see kindness elevated in Williamsburg,” said class member Melanie Wynkoop.

Over the course of the program’s 25-year history, previous classes have installed benches for local bus stops or developed a health fair for the homeless.

LEAD is a program of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, and the races were part of the Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix Event.

There were plenty of smiling faces on the warm spring Saturday morning, as participants took part in seven one-mile races down Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg. Race finishers received a medal and a T-shirt.

With seven races, including a Kindness Walk that organizers said had more than 200 participants, there was an event for everyone. Veterans, children, families and committed running enthusiasts all had events to call their own, and plenty of opportunities to cheer on their friends and neighbors.

“It creates an opportunity for community members of all walks of life to engage in this type of event,” Wynkoop said.

For event participants Debbie Martin and Kirsten Eberton-Greenspon, the event’s focus on community kindness was a big draw. So too were the opportunity to run and the party afterward.

“We want to help spread kindness,” Martin said.

The celebration of kindness continued after the races at the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

The Deloreans, a 1980 show band, performed and the party was fueled by a few food trucks and several breweries.

The initial idea behind LEAD’s capstone event was to hold a big party in the center of town. When the local running community caught wind of the event, it morphed into a running event packaged with a party, said Jack Wickens, another member of the program’s 2019 class.

He and other members of the LEAD program want to preserve the legacy of the group’s work fostering kindness in the community into the future. He hopes to see the Miles of Kindness event come back year after year.

“Our whole program has been a celebration of what's happening in our community and sparking further kindness,” he said.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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