Last year’s Brookhaven Bolt drew about 1,300 runners, and this year organizers are hoping for 1,500 participants.
Last year’s Brookhaven Bolt drew about 1,300 runners, and this year organizers are hoping for 1,500 participants.

Runners will take over Dresden Drive at Village Place on May 18 for the sixth annual Brookhaven Bolt 5K race.

Race Co-Chair Todd Banister said he expects there will be more runners participating in this year’s Brookhaven Bolt.

“Last year we had about 1,300 and we’re hoping for 1,500 this year,” Banister said.

The race, which raises funds for Ashford Park Elementary School, has grown each year, Banister said.

“It’s been so well-received by the area and it seems like everybody really looks forward to it,” Banister said.

Over the past five years, the Brookhaven Bolt has raised about $120,000 for Ashford Park Elementary School. “It helps them to actually grow and become a better place of learning as opposed to just eeking by every year,” Bannister said.

Brookhaven Bolt Co-Chair Darren Miller said a former principal told him the money raised by the race was almost necessary to provide everything the students need.

“She felt as if the school almost could not operate without outside funds like those from Brookhaven Bolt. We almost doubled their operating budget with money we raised,” Miller said.

In the past, money raised by the race has been used to supplement the school’s technology budget, Banister said.

“In years past, it’s gone directly to the elementary school operating budget and they’ve bought Smartboards and classroom technology,” Banister said.

But aside from raising money for the school, Banister said the goal of the Brookhaven Bolt is to provide an annual event the Brookhaven community can look forward to. “We just want to offer a great race experience,” Banister said.

Brookhaven residents are very active, Banister said, so a 5K race is a natural fit for the area.

“I think it’s a really active community. If you drive around the streets whenever it’s warm, people are out jogging, pushing strollers, walking dogs,” Banister said.

The Bolt is certified by USA Track & Field, making it a qualifying race for the Peachtree Road Race and others, Banister said.

And although the race aims to attract focused runners, Banister said kids are an important part of the event. Because the Bolt raises money for a school, the organizers of the event want people to know it’s a place where their children are welcome.

“We’re going to have a photographer there, healthy kids’ snacks, bounce houses. We try to make it family-friendly for the race,” Banister said.