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Pirate Dash to help Lake Wylie family’s adoption

When pirates come running through the streets of The Landing, try to remain calm. They’re running for a reason.

Emily Layne says the reason can change the life of a child she hasn’t met. The Pirate Dash, hosted by Focus Physical Therapy and Fitness with help from ROTC students at Clover High School, benefits the Layne family’s adoption of a Bulgarian orphan. The race is Feb. 28.

“(It’s) something people would be able to get behind,” Layne said, “but still have fun doing it.”

Kevin and Emily Layne have two daughters, Chloe and Violet. In 2004, four years before their oldest child arrived, the Laynes went on a mission trip to Brazil where they learned how dire life can be for children in poverty. In 2007, they selected an adoption agency, but as support-based missionaries in West Virginia, they were denied for financial reasons.

Even with the birth of their daughters in 2008 and 2010, the family felt a call to adopt.

“It definitely did not go away when we had our little girls,” Layne said.

In the fall, in a new home they’d owned a week, the Laynes filled out another adoption application. Research led to Bulgaria, a country with poverty and an ethnic population prone to unlikely adoptions. Reams of paperwork and home visits await, as do deadlines toward the $35,000 it will take.

“It’s a passion we have for orphans that are out there,” Layne said. “It’s a responsibility we feel to make even a small dent.”

Katie Knoll, marketing coordinator for Focus Physical Therapy, said the idea for a run fits with her business. Focus has offices in Lake Wylie and Fort Mill, where they work with all types of runners. One of its biggest tools is a zero-gravity treadmill where runners can reduce wear and tear on their joints as they improve their strength and fitness.

“The running community in the Lake Wylie and Fort Mill area has really been booming, and we’re just trying to break into that,” Knoll said.

The Pirate Dash is the first race sponsored by Focus.

“This is the first one where someone reached out to us,” Knoll said.

For the Laynes, a local 5K run could put them closer to adding to their family. But they and the Focus team know many will see it as an opportunity to keep pace with a New Year’s resolution.

Go run

And they aren’t the only ones. Several more races are scheduled in the Lake Wylie area in the next couple months.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden hosts Hearts-a-Bustin’ 5K Trail Run at 9 a.m. Feb. 14. It covers the garden’s Persimmon Trail and continues through the Seven Oaks Preserve loop that is part of the Carolina Thread Trail. The event is co-organized by the garden and Thread Trail. It costs $30, or $50 for a couple in advance. Proceeds benefit the garden and Thread Trail. To register: visit

That same day, the U.S. National Whitewater Center hosts the Frigid 5K Run & Plunge. Runners take on 3.1 miles along Whitewater Center Parkway, then leap into the chilly waters of the man-made whitewater river. Participants must complete the course in 45 minutes. Run starts at 8 a.m. Cost in advance is $25 with running hat, or $50 with running hat and sweatshirt. To register: or

A March 14 St. Paddy’s Bethelfields 5K Powder Run starts at Bethelfields pool, 2513 Ivy Creek Ford. The second annual event benefits Gavin Slade Jones Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Participants will be given a map of the route and are encouraged to wear white, along with St. Patrick’s Day attire, to pass multiple colored powder stations. There will be water stations throughout the race. Advance registration fee by Feb. 21 is $20 online Email or call 803-389-3110.

The third annual Superhero 5K Run/Walk is scheduled April 18 at Anytime Fitness, Evergreen Road, Lake Wylie, benefiting Lake Wylie Children’s Charity. Super hero costumes encouraged. Advance registration costs $25. To register: