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Miles for Joni: Runners to gather for unofficial race, fundraiser to honor flood victim

Kanawha Valley runners will gather Tuesday for an unofficial race and fundraiser in Charleston to honor Joni Adams, a longtime runner who died Friday in flooding. (WCHS/WVAH)

Runners in the Kanawha Valley will gather to run some miles for Joni.

Joni Adams was a dedicated runner and retired teacher from South Charleston Middle School who died in floodwaters Friday in Elkview along with a friend.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, runners, walkers and bicyclists will gather at the University of Charleston Pharmacy parking lot for an unofficial 5K race to pay tribute to Adams. Cash donations will be collected to donate to the Kanawha Charleston animal shelter that has been inundated with dogs and cats in the aftermath of the floods.

"Joni was a longtime runner in the Kanawha Valley on the roads and on the trails," said W.K. Munsey of the Tallman Track Club. "More importantly, though, she was a mentor to so many in the running community and helped many to begin their running careers and was a role model for many young runners in the area. The Tallman Track Club is deeply saddened by this event and we want to do something to help in her honor."

Munsey said raising funds for the shelter through the race is a tribute to Adams who was an animal lover. Participants also will be asked to wear gold and blue because she was a big fan of West Virginia University.

There will be no timing or awards for the flat course and no water stations, so participants are encouraged to bring or carry their own water or sports drink.

In addition to cash donations for the animal shelter, Munsey said, participants will be asked to bring shoes to donate to flood victims. He said Robert's Running and Walking Shop, which has stores in Huntington and Charleston, is trying to collect 500 pairs of shoes to be donated to victims of the flood.

The footwear can be gently worn shoes of any type: running, sneakers, casual, boots or dress shoes. As of noon Monday, 200 shoes for the effort already had been collected. Munsey said it would be helpful if donors would write the size of the shoe on a piece of paper and slip it inside the pair of shoes they are donating.

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