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Editorial — Sean’s Run just keeps on growing

Originally Published in the Register Star:
Thursday, April 15, 2010 6:13 AM EDT

Nine years later and Sean’s Run is not only still going, it’s growing. In addition to all of the events and scholarship opportunities that Sean’s Run has provided, this year they’ve added yet another special feature.

Dubbed the “Sea Jem’s Super Saturday Run for Special Needs Kids,” the organizers have produced a new race specially designed for special needs kids. The event on April 24 is sponsored by Boston-based seafood wholesaler Sea Jem.

There are several reasons why this race was designed (and you can read about them on page A2), but maybe the most important ones are that Sean French demonstrated a special compassion for children with disabilities and also because his friend, Ian Moore, became a paraplegic as a result of the car crash Jan. 1, 2002 that claimed the life of 17-year-old Sean.

Sean’s father, Mark, who volunteered to lead the Organizing Committee’s effort to start this new feature, said, “That’s what makes the success of this new feature personally important.”

This new feature is just one more dimension to the annual race that has grown beyond leaps and bounds since the first one in April 2002. The first one attracted more than 1,000 participants. The Sean Patrick French Scholarship Fund was created, which now awards six to 10 scholarships annually to seniors through the Capital Region.

In the second year, the event added the Prevention Education Expo. In the third year, the Committee created the Sean’s Run Web site. In the fourth year, Sean’s Run helped introduce the regional “Parents Who Host, Lost the Most” campaign.

In the fifth year, the World Championship Battle of the Belts seat belt contest was added — an event equally as exciting as Sean’s Run. Prior to prom season each year, high schools, middle schools and youth organizations throughout the region hold preliminary “buckle-up” battles; Chatham has added additional awards, such as Best Team T-Shirt or Best Team Name. The final competition is held at Sean’s Run. A special Tribute to Victims and Survivors of impaired driving and crashes was also added in 2006.

Chip Timing, which allows times to be posted within minutes of the finish of the 5K, was introduced in the sixth year.

In 2008, the Committee dedicated Sean’s Run to Meghan Kraham. At 16, she helped organize the first Sean’s Run. After battling a rare form of cancer for six months, she died on Aug. 18, 2008.

Last year, the eighth year, saw the highest turnout of participants (hopefully to be surpassed this year). The Organizing Committee also renamed Sean’s Mile, the 1-mile youth race, Meghan’s Mile.

While Sean’s Run is a fun and generous event, we must remember why it was created — to raise awareness about the problems of underage drinking and impaired driving, as well as seat belt use.

Note: Registration costs vary depending on the date. For online registration: before April 17, adults, 18 and over, are $18, $23 after; youth 6-17, $10 before, $15 after. Cost for families is $45 before April 17 and $50 after; children 5 and under are always free.

To register by mail by April 19, go to the Web site, www.seansrun.com, where you can print the form and access the mailing address. You can also drop off your registration, by April 23, at First Niagara Bank in Chatham (times listed on the Web site).

If you miss all of these dates, you can register the weekend of the event at the Chatham High School, 2-4 p.m. April 24 and 10-11:30 a.m. April 25.

Sean’s Run encourages everyone to come out Sunday, April 25 for the event. Its growth is partly due to all of its supporters. Good luck participants and organizers.

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