Forging Families 5k returning to Columbiana Jan. 8

Published 5:06 pm Monday, December 20, 2021

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By SASHA JOHNS | Community Columnist

On Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, Columbiana will host the Forging Families 5k event for the third consecutive year.

An event spearheaded by Joel Dixon as a response that was meant to meet the financial needs of friends trying to adopt in 2019, the race has grown each year and will benefit Sacred Selections.

Sacred Selections is a non-profit ministry built to financially assist with the high cost of adoption. In the past, the Forging Families 5k has benefitted specific families that had partnered with Sacred Selections to fund their adoptions.

This year, Dixon said the intention had been to do the same, but the family they’d chosen met their goal early.

Instead, this year it will go directly to Sacred Selections, where it will be used to help new families that reach out to them for help going forward.

The participation in the race has grown each year despite the pandemic.

The early January date has proved to be a great date for most participants, and the outdoor aspect of it makes it easy to create that social distance that many are looking for in order to stay safe.

The date has threatened to test Dixon, however.

“Last year we had 213 participants despite the fact that it was absurdly cold,” Dixon said.

The previous year, severe weather also made a threat, but Dixon and his team persevered that inaugural year.

“Every volunteer showed up despite the threat,” he said, “And we made it. The bottom fell out (after) the race was over. When there is a good cause, people tend to pour out despite the obstacles.”

Dixon hopes to increase the number of participants to about 250 this year. Aside from the 5k itself, the event also boasts a 1-mile fun run and a “sleep in” option for those who wish to contribute and get a T-shirt, but don’t really want to participate in the race.

Dixon was excited to announce that the event is also adding a 10k option for runners who are looking for just a little more of a challenge this year.

Last year, the event raised about $12,000 dollars, and he hopes to surpass that number this year.

Thanks to his corporate sponsors, he has a good chance at doing just that.

Several local businesses and local leaders have supported the event and helped to get it off the ground each year. A full list of sponsors, which include Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Morris, State Rep. Corely Ellis, Tori Nix of the Rinehart Insurance Agency and Allan Lowe of Lowe Realty, can be found on the Forging Families 5k Facebook event page.

“It is very humbling to have the opportunity to partner with Joel on the Forging Families race,” Ellis said. “To see an entire community come together to help make a family whole is an awesome sight.”

Participants can register online at or on race day. Registration and packet pick-up will begin at 7 a.m. at the Shelby County Arts Council in Columbiana.