Shannon James has participated in marathons as well as bike races, but her friends are hoping others can go the extra mile for her after a devastating accident last week.
A benefit event is planned today at 6 p.m. at Grace Moravian Church which will allow participants to walk, run or ride in honor of James, the victim of a Friday bicycle crash at Hanging Rock State Park.
The local tri-athlete in her early 30s remained in critical condition Wednesday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem with multiple injuries. She received a broken collarbone, ribs and a chest bone when her bike crashed while riding down the main road of the state park at Danbury. A park official has said the accident, which occurred on a steep decline, could have been caused by a flat tire.
“She is in a regular room now — she’s out of intensive care,” Darren Lewis, one of the organizers of today’s benefit, said Wednesday. Hospital visitation is limited for James, who is facing “a long road to recovery,” Lewis said, although she is expected to have no permanent damage.
Everyone is invited to tonight’s event, aimed at generating funds from participants to assist with medical and family expenses during James’ recovery period. They are invited to do so on two legs or two wheels. Several bike and other routes will be in place, and water and snacks are to be available.
“This is totally not a race,” Lewis said. Organizers will accept donations during the gathering, which Lewis said offers a chance to help the accident victim and also just to “get some exercise in honor of Shannon.”
Coming out to support such a cause would be something James normally would do, Lewis indicated of a woman he has known for about six years who is well-traveled in both athletic and civic circles.
James is the secretary of the Mount Airy Road Runners, a group devoted to the sport of running which is among the sponsors of today’s event.
Also, she is a member of the Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club, which actively supports a number of worthy causes. She serves on the board of directors of Surry Medical Ministries, an organization that provides free health care to the poor, and is a volunteer for Reeves Community Center.
The mother of two works as information technology specialist for Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care in Mount Airy and formerly was employed by the city of Mount Airy.
James is an accomplished runner and great all-around athlete, Lewis said. “She’s participated in a lot of races statewide at all levels,” he said. “She’s done a couple of marathons.”
Most recently, James has concentrated on triathlons, a grueling form of competition that combines running, cycling and swimming, and was planning to participate in an upcoming event before she was hurt. She also was slated to ride in the Tour de Vino bike event last Saturday in Elkin.
“Hopefully, her physical fitness will help her recover faster,” Lewis said.
In addition to competing, James has served as a volunteer for various racing events, including keeping times.
Any contributions will be accepted during tonight’s fund-raiser.
“Come walk, run or ride for Shannon,” states a press release for the benefit. “Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come and support her.”
Those unable to attend who would still like to give can mail checks to Mount Airy Road Runners, 745 Greenhill Road, Mount Airy, N.C., 27030.
Tom Joyce can be reached at 719-1924 or email@example.com.