This memorial 5K is in memory of Jared Coones, a local elementary student who lost his battle with leukemia in 1998. His family, with the support of our local community, got together in an effort to raise awareness and funds for cancer research began the annual tradition of the Pumpkin Run in his memory. The race begins and ends at the elementary school Jared attended and each year the race has grown bigger and bigger. Sadly, in late 2006, Jayne Coones, Jared's mom, lost her life to breast cancer and the Pumpkin Run has been rededicated to honor both Jared and Jayne. The Coones family has been devastated by cancer and feel more strongly than ever the need to raise funds for research and support organizations. Today we helped give the Coones family hope as today was the largest turnout yet with just about 3000 runners and walkers!
As J, M and I ran/walked the 3.1 miles we realized how simple it was to help--we just had to walk or run or both as it turned out! The entry fee was under $15 and I think more than the money, the Coones family and friends were thrilled to see such community support. Their losses are unspeakably devastating so I hope that by seeing all of us thousands of participants they know we are committed to them, cancer research and funding.
It got difficult to keep going right about the 2.5 mile point but we kept going. I checked my wrist and saw my Livestrong bracelet and remembered the close losses in my life to cancer--my grandpa to bone cancer and most recently my uncle to esophageal cancer and found the encouragement to finish strong and run across the finish line. My time was kind of pathetic at just under 58 minutes (official times will be posted tomorrow on the running club website)--that's about 20 minutes a mile but the point, for me, wasn't to be the quickest (I knew I wouldn't be) but to finish. It is the least I could do in the face of something as devastating as cancer.