Runners from Near and Far Gather to Harness Hope during Team Kass’s Inaugural 5K Run/Walk

(Editor’s Note:  We had issues uploading pictures to this post.  We linked a photo at the bottom of the page.  We apologize for this inconvenience, as we had many wonderful pictures from the event to share!)

As the sun rose over the football stadium at the Hughesville High School in the early morning hours of October 19, we just knew that no matter what, it was going to be a great day! We had arrived before first light, after starting to plan this race only 8 weeks earlier. But, we were ready for whatever came our way that morning. Certain things, like the weather, were beyond our control. We stayed focus on the things we could control….our purpose, our mission, and our desire to create an atmosphere of hope and inspiration.

When all was said and done, the weather was gorgeous and over 125 participants (including our virtual runners) were with us on this beautiful day. In addition to the 85 or so people who participated in person, 40+ people joined us from all over the country as virtual runners. States represented in the virtual portion of our race included: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. That was very cool and very inspiring! We offer very special thanks to all of our virtual runners!

We surpassed our fundraising goal, and through the generosity of our corporate sponsors and race participants, we raised over $6K for the Foundation! We are grateful beyond measure!

We are happy to share the list of our inaugural Harnessing Hope 5K winners and their winning times:

Overall Male:   Joshua Gavitt, 17:48

Overall Female:   Amy McCoy, 20:19

Over 40 (Male):  Mike Rieder, 20:15

Over 40 (Female):   Tara Holdren, 26:21

Under 13 (Male):   Tonny Temple, 19:55

Under 13 (Female):   Valerie Ammar-Khodja, 28:05**

**There was a mix-up in this category on race day. We were sorry not to be able to recognize the amazing performance of Miss Valerie on Saturday in front of the other race participants. We are happy to report that she will receive her prize and medal this week. Congratulations Valerie!

Congratulations to all of our winners! Thank you for running in our inaugural race! You are all an inspiration! Keep going! Keep inspiring! Next year, we plan to have more age categories providing for more chances to recognize the awesome performances we saw on Saturday.

All participants may access the full race results by clicking here.

We also offer our special thanks to all of our race sponsors, including our HOPE Corporate Sponsors: Elite Feet, Inc., Frozen Run Bottling Company, Inc., and Susquehanna Valley Sportswear. We are grateful to all of the many companies and individuals who provided extra monetary support to our event.  Please click this link for a listing of all of our generous race sponsors:  https://teamkass.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/5k-sponsor-thank-you1.jpg

Away from the race clock, many other amazing stories surfaced on our tribute wall and in our conversations with the race participants. The truth is that we all have a story. We all have a journey ahead…we all have a past that has shaped who we are today….we all walk into each day with no guarantees about what the future has in store, but with an appreciation of the gift of having another chance to love. The most rewarding aspect of the day for me was hearing the stories of hope and love and the motivation to just keep going.

I share below just a few of the touching stories we heard and saw on Saturday ….

  • Holly ran for her sister Rachel who lost her battle with cancer last December!
  • Kidney cancer survivor, Amber, ran in honor of her own courageous fight!
  • Carla ran after losing her husband unexpectedly in a car accident just four months ago!
  • Beth and Laurie ran in loving memory of their Dad!
  • My niece Katie ran her first 5K in loving memory of her Aunt Kass!
  • After not being able to walk on her own just a few months ago, Bonnie was there determined to finish the 3.1 mile course as she continues to battle cancer!
  • Beth was there to run in loving memory of her husband Dave!
  • Mindy ran in loving memory of her brother Sean and her dear friend Kass!
  • Judy participated in her first 5K in loving memory of her Ma!
  • Michelle was there to run in loving memory of her friend James, who lost his battle with cancer in May!
  • Kelly was walking in memory of Kass and her father-in-law, both of whom lost their battles with cancer!
  • Many of Kass’s teammates and friends were there to show their support for Kass!
  • Several participants were running their first 5K that day, and picked our race to do it!
  • And, there were countless other stories making their way through the crowd that day….

These are the stories that made this event a success! Kass taught us that no matter what our circumstances, we should never lose hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that there is a reason for every single thing that happens to us, and that someday we will understand and find peace. Hope that love is eternal. Hope that no matter what, everything will be okay.

We are already gearing up for next year’s race! Please plan to join us on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at the same time and location! Please invite your friends and colleagues to join us, too! We know there are so many inspiring stories out there. We want to capture them all and wrap ourselves up in the anticipation of and hope for a brighter tomorrow. Thank you, and God bless!

Please click this link to view a photo montage from the day!  http://teamkass.com/?attachment_id=1059

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