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Run for loved ones lost

On Memorial Day last year, 1,000 people ran a 5K in memory of five Park City students who had died far too young. Later that day, several hundred attended a memorial service for yet another life lost, 21-year-old David Crook.

The overwhelming community support and the jarring loss of another young Parkite made the mothers of the Park City 5, who came together to organize the race, realize that the event was a perfect act of remembrance for all loved ones lost.

The inaugural Park City High School (PCHS) Memorial 5K will be held Monday, May 31. The race will start at 9 a.m. at PCHS and will follow the Park Meadows loop.

The cost is $25 in advance at http://www.pchsmemorial.com or $30 the day of the race. Registration will take place between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and the race will start at 9 a.m. (those who register between 8:30 and 9 will not be timed but are welcome to participate).

All proceeds will benefit the PCHS National Honor Society and will be used to fund local and national projects including community scholarships for seniors in need of financial aid and partial scholarships for students who want to travel to Bolivia this summer to help build the second PCHS sister school in honor of the Park City 5.

The money raised at last year’s race funded the construction of five sister schools in honor of Mike Pennels, Connie Blount, Matt Knoop, Chris Yeates and Erica Knell, who all passed away within eight months of one another in 2008.

Five PCHS students have already been granted scholarships to travel to Bolivia to help build the second school.

Cheyenne Linsky, who serves as the junior representative for the National Honor Society at PCHS, traveled to Ecuador last July to help erect the first school with family members of the five students.

"I think the coolest thing was getting to know the moms," she says. "I felt like I was part of it even though I didn’t personally know their kids. It was emotional at times and it was definitely meaningful to them." That’s why Linsky wanted to reach out this year to help with the Memorial 5K.

Families wishing to honor lost loved ones are encouraged to purchase a memorial banner that will be displayed along the racecourse. Banners are available by emailing contactus@pchsmemorial.com .

Alice Pennels, whose son Mike passed away in February 2008, says she plans to run the 5K each year as a way to celebrate his life. She hopes the race will become a tradition for Parkites who have lost anyone, whether it’s a friend, family member or coworker.

The PCHS baseball team plans to run the race in memory of their assistant coach, Keith Otis, who passed away unexpectedly in April.

David Crook’s family and friends will run the race in observance of the one-year anniversary ofhis death. He passed away in his sleep the day before Memorial Day last year.

David’s mother, Martha Crook, has turned to the mothers of the Park City 5 to help her cope with her loss. "It’s been a huge support," she says. "No one understands like someone who has been through it." The response from the community has been extremely poignant as well. "People came out of the woodwork to support our family," she adds. "That truly is what gets you through."

The first people to sign up for the 5K will receive a T-shirt designed by members of the PCHS AP Studio Art class. Participants will also have the option to enter an opportunity drawing and the winners in each category men, women, under 19 men, under 19 women and teams will receive plaques and gift baskets. Dogs are allowed on leash.

For more information about the race, go to http://www.pchsmemorial.com or find the PCHS Memorial 5K on Facebook. For details about the Park City 5 and PCHS sister schools, visit http://www.parkcity5.blogspot.com.


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