OUR VIEW: Sean’s Run — 10 years running
Originally Published by The Register Star:
Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:09 AM EDT
What started out as simply a memorial run for 17-year-old Chatham High School student Sean French, who died in a drunk driving accident on Jan. 1, 2002, has become a successful community event — 10 years running.
The first year started with just a 5K race, attracting more than 1,000 participants and raising $40,000, which was equally contributed to the Sean Patrick French Scholarship Fund and the family of Ian Moore, who was paralyzed in the same accident. The scholarship fund now awards six to 10 scholarships annually to seniors throughout the Capital Region.
In the past 10 years, 74 seniors have been awarded and this year saw the highest number of applications to date from CHS seniors.
The first run also initiated the first-ever Chatham Middle School SADD chapter, which joined the already established CHS SADD chapter.
Year two added a Prevention Education Expo. In year three, the committee created the Sean’s Run website, which has become a valuable resource for the community at large.
In year five, Sean’s Run added the World Championship Battle of the Belts seat belt contest for high school students, which has grown to include middle school students and youth and service organizations throughout the Capital Region. Preliminary winners meet up at Sean’s Run to compete in the World Championship. This event has become a highly anticipated event each year.
The seventh year, the committee dedicated a race for youth 12 and younger (dubbed Meghan’s Mile in year eight) to Meghan Kraham, a 16 year old who helped organize the first Sean’s Run. She died on Aug. 18, 2008 at age 22 after battling a rare form of cancer. This same year, the Chatham Courier and Register-Star proudly became sponsors of Sean’s Run.
Last year, Sean’s Run became a two-day event when the committee added the first-ever Sea Jam’s Super Saturday Run for special needs kids. This race will be back again this year.
New this year, Sean’s Run was the catalyst for creating a partnership with Taconic Driving School, Remove Intoxicated Drivers-USA, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Columbia County Stop DWI and Twin County Recovery Services to establish the Columbia-Greene Safety Tree Living Billboard, which stands outside the emergency entrance of CMH and is decorated with white lights. For every alcohol-related traffic fatality in Columbia and Greene counties, each light will be replaced with a red bulb. The unveiling and lighting was April 1, exactly one month before Sean’s Run.
So how could the 10th year be any better? How about exceeding the anticipated 1,500 participants. The first 1,500 to register receive a free commemorative Sean’s Run T-shirt — how’s that for incentive? Be the 1,501st registrant to make this 10th year a running success.