The morning of May 24 meant a lot to many. It was the 7th Annual Kent's Run. The race was created to preserve the memory of Kent Ribordy, a student at Boone Grove High School who ran track and cross country and was loved by all that knew him. Ribordy was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away his freshman year. But his life is remembered and celebrated each year during Kent's Run.
The race began at 8am with a huge crowd of runners and walkers gathered outside of Boone Grove Middle School. As a tradition, Ribordy's favorite song, "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney was played before the race and then Pastor Jim Norris of Boone Grove Christian Church gave the convocation and the National Anthem was performed.
"Some of you have come out here today to run, some of you came out here today to jog or walk with your families, but I feel and many other people around me feel that you are out here for a much greater reason," Norris, a cancer survivor, said to the crowd. "I am convinced that it is because of you that the dollars that we have raised have given us time until a cure is finally there. And from the people like me I thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
The race began and runners followed the path that was shown to them by giant John Deere tractor (another favorite of Ribordy's). Over 1,000 people could be found around streets of Boone Grove that day, which rivaled the number of runners from the 2013 race.
"We haven't changed much this year. We think that what is going on now is successful and people talk about how this race is special because of the things that we do and the fact that it brings together two communities like Valpo and La Porte," Reggie Flesvig, creator of Kent's Run said. "Numbers are very strong this year, we've had excellent volunteer support and a lot of community support as well. This is something that I really love to do. It's like my second job outside of teaching. I really enjoy it."
Afterward, a hearty pancake breakfast was served in the cafeteria and awards were given to the winners of different age groups. The overall winner was Dakota Merkel with a time of 16:49.
Over $250,000 has been raised for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the last seven years of the Kent's Run existence.
Sponsors for Kent's Run: Walgreens, Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, CSiNET, Applegarth Dermatology, Crop for Kent, Generations Hair Salon, Graeber Family Farms, Graves Lumber Company, Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery, Pioneer, Reeder's Auto Service Center, Ribordy Family Farms, Ribordy Ag Services, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, Calumet Region Striders, MPG, Extra Mile Fitness Co. and Vision Event Management.
Photo collage on bottom credit: Brianna Dunn