“Because of His Passionate Commitment to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles This Race is Dedicated in Memory of Dr. Bill Gregory.”
Dalton’s largest and friendliest road race has quite a history. 2017′s Healthcare Classic will mark 37 years since the first race in 1981 and 22 years since gaining the involvement of the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership for the 1996 race. Before the Partnership’s involvement, the race was coordinated strictly by the Bradley Wellness Center.
From 1981 – 2007, the race was simply called the “Healthcare Classic,” but in 2007 the race was renamed the “Bill Gregory Healthcare Classic” to honor the late Dr. Bill Gregory who was killed in a bicycling accident in June 2006. Dr. Gregory had a passion for wellness and healthy lifestyles. By permanently re-naming the event, the Healthcare Partnership hoped the one-day event would serve as a catalyst to promote permanent healthy lifestyle changes in Northwest Georgia. 2011′s event celebrated the 5th anniversary of remembering Dr. Gregory’s passion for wellness by introducing the “Dr. Gregory Wellness Fair” where vendors and sponsors can have a booth on race day with products or services promoting wellness.
In 2013, the Classic enjoyed roughly 2,400 participants. The race has come a long way since the Partnership joined the efforts in 1996 with 541 participants. Then, the Classic was a 5K and a 1-mile “fun run.” It wasn’t until the 2000 “Millennium” Classic when it became a 5K and 2K timed race. The Healthcare Partnership wanted to make it a 2K-timed race to provide more opportunities for younger populations to compete and win awards. Age categories were lowered as well during this effort. In 2012, the 10K distance was added back to the Healthcare Classic to provide a “next step” for 5K participants.
The Healthcare Partnership’s goal is to continue evolving the race to best serve the needs of the participating public and attract runners from all over North Georgia.