PCHS Memorial 5K to return on Monday
The annual run/walk aims to remember lost loved ones
Memorial Day remembers the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. But for Park City High School’s National Honor Society, Monday’s holiday is much more.
“We’re not trying to take away from those who have given their lives and service to our country,” National Honor Society advisor George Murphy said. “It’s a day to remember them, but also remember some members of our community that we lost.”
In an effort to remember lost loved ones, the National Honor Society will host the ninth-annual Park City High School Memorial 5K Walk/Run on Monday morning at Park City High School.
The event started in 2009, when the National Honor Society teamed up with the Park City 5, a foundation created by the grieving parents of five Park City students who passed away within seven months of each other in separate incidents: Mike Pennes, Connie Blount, Matt Knoop, Christopher Yeates and Erica Knell. Their parents wanted to honor their memories by contributing to humanitarian projects.
After the 5k’s first year, the National Honor Society at the high school continued honoring those in the community who have lose loves since.
“It’s just a great way to honor their lives and to continue the tradition on Memorial Day every year,” Murphy said. “[The families] left it in our hands to see where we take it from there. It’s a good way to come to the high school and be around each other. It’s a way to bring, not only our school together, but our community together and for a good cause.
“It’s just good feelings that morning.”
Bailey Hoglin, student president of the National Honor Society at the school, said carrying on the tradition is a no-brainer.
“For me, the race means so much because it’s an opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much,” Hoglin said. “This community has shown me so much support and support to all high school students in general. And I feel that through this race I am able to give a little bit back.”
In its first year, the Memorial Run helped build a school in Ecuador with its proceeds, an idea that originated from the Park City 5. Since, proceeds have been used to send groups of local students to Peru, Bolivia, India, Haiti, Guatemala and Cuba for additional humanitarian projects.
“After the initial year of fundraising, we were able to raise a lot of funds to fund all those projects for five years,” Murphy said. “The [National Honor Society] has just continued with the races to support a number of different projects.”
For this year’s humanitarian trip, a group of students will travel to Nepal with Murphy, who runs in the event and attends the humanitarian trip every year, and a former Park City High School graduate to build greenhouses in communities in the Himalayas.
The money raised also contributes to departing seniors’ scholarships, as well as supports the Homeless Youth Center of Utah in Salt Lake City.
The race, which is largely put on by the National Honor Society’s student members, will begin and end at Dozier Field on the school’s campus. When runners make their way to the finish line, they will circle the track bordered with 40-plus banners, Murphy estimates. Each banner commemorates a departed loved one from the community.
Murphy said the banners are his favorite part of the whole race.
“I love being a part of it,” Murphy said. “Especially coming into Dozier Field; there’s no other feeling like it. It’s kind of a cool thing.”
Though it’s a ton of work for Hoglin and the rest of the National Honor Society Board to put on such an event, she shared the same sentiment as Murphy in regards to the final lap of the race.
“At times, it can get a little hectic trying to get everything organized and done, which I owe all to the amazing [National Honor Society] Board,” Hoglin said. “But it is completely worth it when you see everyone running around the last lap of the track. People stop and look at all the banners we have for the loved ones in the community. They are crying tears of joy and sadness remembering all the memories. It’s a very powerful moment.”
Same-day registration for the Park City High School Memorial 5K Walk/Run, as well as t-shirt pickup, will start at 8 a.m. at Dozier Field. The race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. After the race, there will be food, live music and a raffle drawing.
For entry rates and more information, visit parkcitynhs.weebly.com.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.