Run with the Dogs 5K celebrates 20th anniversary with mural in Oakhurst
On Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, Decatur High School Seniors Sydney Jeffrey (front) and Jadyn Biggers help paint the Run With The Dogs 5K mural in Oakhurst on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. Photo by Dean Hesse.Decatur, GA — Passersby of Oakhurst Market may notice a new mural near the store commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Run with the Dogs 5K in Decatur.
The mural features an image of a corgi dog named Lego.
Each year, organizers get together to put on a 5K race through Decatur’s McDonough-Adams-Kings Highway historic district and Oakhurst to fundraise for the Decatur Bulldog Boosters and support student-athletes. A local dog is voted to be the face of the race.
Once the dog is selected, local artist Adam Pinsley gets to work designing the posters for the race. This year, he decided to also design and paint a mural that features the same dog and colors as the 2024 posters.
Pinsley grew up playing lacrosse and also dabbled in art. In 2012, he began coaching the Decatur High School boy’s lacrosse team and this year is coaching the girl’s lacrosse team as a volunteer coach.
Designing the race poster each year gives him a chance to combine those two things he’s passionate about.
“It’s good that I know that the race is giving back to the schools and the athletes at the schools,” Pinsley said. “It is fun and cool to [my] work around town on the posters and the shirts. That’s a good feeling, but the main reason is to help the athletes and the kids.”
The mural created an opportunity to garner more exposure for the event and get the student-athletes involved as well.
“Every year we get together once a month as the race committee and talk about different ways to promote the race and different ways to get exposure for the race,” Pinsley said. “We kicked around the mural idea a year ago, but it was just an idea and never gained any traction or legs. But this year, given that it’s the 20th anniversary of the race, we felt this was the time to really pursue doing something big and something fun.”
Earlier this month, Pinsley worked with Decatur High School students to paint the mural behind Oakhurst Market. As a coach, he tries to find ways to help expand his athletes’ interests outside of sports.
“It’s [about] exposing them to culture and using their creativity. It’s not always just about sports. I really enjoy watching them step out of their comfort level sometimes and do things,” Pinsley said. “It was a nice mix to see the different talents that they have.”
The high school’s student-athlete leadership team also got involved with the project to help recruit others to participate. Several students gathered on Jan. 5-7 to paint.
Pinsley said he simplified the process and gave students a bucket of paint with a number on it that corresponded to the part of the mural they were going to paint.
“I’m extremely happy with how it turned out,” Pinsley said. “The community response has been positive. I really loved how the students were taking pictures of it and sending it to their friends and getting in groups and [taking] selfies in front of it. I think they took pride in it as well.”
The Run with the Dogs race will be held on Jan. 27. The race begins and ends at Beacon Hill Middle School, located at 220 W. College Ave. The one-mile pup trot starts at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K begins at 9 a.m.
“The course begins at Beacon Hill Middle School, travels through Decatur’s Historic MAK District, through the heart of the Oakhurst business district (and past our 20th Anniversary mural of Lego the Corgi), around the perimeter of Oakhurst past Fifth Avenue Upper Elementary and the Oakhurst Rec Center, and then back to Beacon Hill Middle School,” Race coordinator Cheryl Kortemeier said in an email.
She added that the race is a qualifier for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Peachtree Road Race. Registrations will be accepted through race day. There is no fee for the one-mile pup trot. The registration fee for the 5K is $55. The fee for City Schools of Decatur students and staff and city employees is $50.
To register for the race, click here.
Proceeds from the race benefit over 1,100 student-athletes at Beacon Hill Middle and Decatur High schools through the Decatur Bulldog Boosters.
“Each year, the DBB supports team play by purchasing equipment, uniforms, team meals, and more. The DBB also funds team mini-grants, the Positive Coaching Alliance, the Athlete Equity Fund and coach appreciation,” Kortemeier said. “Participating in the Run With the Dogs 5K is not only an investment in your individual health and wellbeing, but it is also an investment in our youth, our schools, and our community.”
The race organizers are feeling grateful to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Run with the Dogs race. It began as a small community race and has evolved into an AJC Peachtree Road Race qualifier over the years.
“It is really exciting to see how the 5K has grown in the past 20 years,” Kortemeier said. “It is inspiring to see dogs and humans of all ages, backgrounds, and interests coming together in support of our youth. We are so proud that we were able to commemorate this special milestone with our original Adam Pinsley mural, and we thank everyone who has supported the Decatur Bulldog Boosters and the Run With the Dogs 5K along the way. We can hardly wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.”
Here are some photos from the painting day on Jan. 6:
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