Brayden's family

The Blackwell family is ready for the run/hike to begin.

Susan Blackwell and her family organized the ninth annual Brayden’s Run for Strength, which raised more than $800 for the Chromosome 18 Registry and Research Society. People began and ended the run on Confer Lane in Wellsboro on Saturday, Aug. 1.

Blackwell’s son Brayden, age 9, has a rare genetic disorder, Green 18, which is an abnormality of chromosome 18. During his first year of life, the trail run/hike was formed to help provide what was needed by the family to support Brayden. Now money that is raised is sent to the Chromosome 18 Registry and Research Society to help others.

Medals are awarded to all who participated in the run, but winning medals are given to the top male and a female runners. This year the male winner was Michael Browne from Easton, with a time of 51:40. Browne continues to defend his title, winning Brayden’s Trail of Strength for the sixth time in a row. The female winner was Madalyn Hunsberger from Douglassville, with a time of 1:13:22.

Blackwell always had a love for running, so when it was needed, she knew what to do to help raise funds. The chicken barbecue tied into the events after the first year. The run and the barbecue are an annual event for the cause.

“I love fundraising events,” Blackwell said. “There are tons of trails and I know the mountains really well, so it all tied together.”

This year was challenging to organize because of COVID-19. Fewer volunteers got involved and Blackwell did not expect the average amount of people to register for the run. The chicken barbecue required extra precautions to ensure the safety of the food as well as the people who purchase it. She keeps moving forward with the event and still enjoys whoever does end up participating.

“My favorite part is seeing the same people come back every year.,” Blackwell said. “You get a following that not only is here, but branches out to other races that I do.

“I like seeing the runners, hearing their stories and following them and seeing what other things they are doing,” she continued. “They just continue to support. The running community in this area is fantastic.”