Bill Gregory Healthcare Classic

I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Dr. Bill Gregory, the Dalton physician for whom the Healthcare Classic is named, but I understand that he was a man who believed that being physically fit and eating right were essential to good health.

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And I have it from good authorities, chiefly from his family and friends, that he “practiced what he preached,” exercising regularly and making good food choices most of the time, even if he did avoid the occasional green vegetable.

I’ve learned a lot about Bill Gregory since I began serving as Executive Director of the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership (NGHP) last May. In fact, I began my new job just six days before last year’s Healthcare Classic, and I learned then that this road race has been a Dalton tradition since 1981 but was renamed the “Bill Gregory Healthcare Classic” following his tragic death in 2006.

As a newcomer to the area, I was immediately impressed by the widespread community support this event enjoys and by the many thousands of people who come out to run, jog, or walk the various race routes.

I feel sure that if he were alive today, Bill Gregory would be very pleased to see what a dynamic tradition the Healthcare Classic has become.  And I feel sure that he would also be proud to know that all of the proceeds from this annual event support the good work of the NGHP, an organization which promotes and supports healthy lifestyle choices and practices.

While the race, which takes place on Saturday, May 9, may be about three months off, it’s never too early to register or to begin training for what I’ve heard many people call the “premier” Northwest Georgia road race.

Fortunately, registration is already open on our website, at www.billgregory.org.

As has become the tradition, the race will feature 10K, 5K, and 2K runs that begin and end at the Bradley Wellness Center at 1225 Broadrick Drive in Dalton. The 10K and 5K runs begin at 8:00 am, although people are welcome to arrive for registration and/or check-in any time after 7:00 am.

The Kids Classic – 2K Fun Run/Walk will begin after the longer races are complete, and while adults may participate as well, only youth aged 19 and younger will be given awards.

The cost of registration until April 24 is $15, which includes the cost of the race, t-shirts, and refreshments. From April 24 until Race Day, the cost will be $25 per registrant.

The Carpet Capital Running Club has again contracted with us to chip-time these events, which means that anyone who is not wearing the appropriate bib will not be timed. So competitive runners should make sure they wear their bib in order to be eligible for awards or to be given official result times.

Also new is that in addition to the cotton t-shirt that those who pre-register (before April 24) for the race receive, any participant can purchase a new high-quality tech shirt as well, offered at a 20% discount if purchased along with their registration.

As always, awards will be given to race winners, and participation prizes will be given to the organizations, including schools, churches, medical practices, and businesses, that have the highest participation numbers.

Cash prizes will be given to the overall male and female runners, and other winners will be recognized in their respective age groups.

All in all, this year’s Healthcare Classic, the 35th, should be a great event, and I’m looking forward to it. Since I’ve taken the helm of the NGHP, I’ve learned a lot about both Bill Gregory and this race, and I am continually gratified by the financial support the proceeds from the race provide us, including funding for such important work as getting families the healthcare they need.

Thank you in advance to the Bradley Wellness Center, the Bill Gregory family, our sponsors, and to all of the hundreds of volunteers and participants. See you on race day.

In Good Health,

Greg Dent