This is the first in a series of columns about the 12th annual Rumba on the Lumber, which will be held March 3 in downtown Lumberton. — editor
How often do you get the chance to put on your running shoes and line up behind a starting gun with some of the fastest 5K runners in the region? Or indulge your appetite with hot chili on Water Street by the Lumber River on a beautiful day surrounded by friends and neighbors? Or listen to great live music in Lumberton’s historic downtown square?
You can do all those things and a lot more once a year at the Rumba on the Lumber Festival coming up on the first weekend in March. This is your first notice to prepare yourself for some fun, and maybe a little exercise, so mark your calendar and get ready for Rumba.
On Friday night, March 2, the Allen Orthopedics Pasta Party at the Bill Sapp Center kicks the weekend off with proceeds to benefit the Lumberton Soccer Association. The next morning, the SRMC Family Fun Run/Walk will launch a happy horde of kids and adults into an unforgettable mile of smiles and breathlessness. The LRA 5K will feature expert runners and ordinary folk just out for a 3.1-mile stroll. There are prizes for the fastest finishers in all age categories. The Lumbee River EMC Kidz Zone will have two rock-climbing walls, a slide, and other play equipment that will have kids spend a day trading their Wii for a “weeeeee!” There are arts and crafts and vendors galore … and of course the famous Bud Light Chili Cook-off.
Over the next several weeks, The Robesonian will feature stories with different perspectives on this great community event. From my perspective as a physician and an event sponsor, I see an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in our community that result from lack of exercise and a high-calorie diet. Most people know about the link between obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Part of my job is to read thousands of X-rays every year. Every day I see knee joints and spines that are damaged by arthritis because of years of carrying too much weight and having weak supporting muscles. Arthritis can create a vicious cycle where it gets more difficult to exercise because of joint pain, leading to less muscle and more weight gain.
Starting a simple walking or running program is the easiest and least expensive way to add exercise to our lifestyle. For the past dozen years, this festival has introduced many Robeson County residents to their first taste of athletic competition, in a fun and friendly way. It’s brought thousands of people downtown just to take a walk together, where hopefully they can meet other people and form a little walking or running group with their friends and neighbors.
I’m proud to be CEO at Lumberton Radiological Associates. We sponsored the first LRA 5K 12 years ago and thanks to the hard work of the volunteers at the Robeson Road Runners and the support of the city of Lumberton, the festival has grown and attracted many other sponsors. All of the sponsors care about the health of our community and know that exercise is essential to being healthy and happy.
Six weeks. That’s how much time you have to get the joints moving and limbered up for the Rumba on the Lumber. Bring the whole family. Yes, it’s about health, but mostly it’s about celebrating community and life with music, food, and fun. Be a part of it. If you’ve never walked or run a 5K, make 2012 the year that you do.
— Jim Parker is the CEO of Lumberton Radiological Associates.