— Hundreds of runners pounded the pavement last Saturday in Goodrich to remember a loved one that was taken, but not forgotten, far too soon.
The fifth annual Kayla Run honors Kayla O’Mara, who died in January 2006 after a car accident. Kayla and twin sister Kaitlin helped lead Goodrich to five state championships in cross country and track.
The overall winner of the 5k race was Alex Ralston of Holly with a time of 15:48. The overall female winner was Leah Scharl of Clarkston, crossing the line in a time of 18:32.9. Walkers and runners aged anywhere from 4 to 76 years old came out to help raise funds and give away scholarships in Kayla’s name.
This year, $17,000 was given away in scholarships. Kayla O’Mara scholarship winners of 2010 include: Katherine Pavelich of Kearsley High School, Taryn Handyside of Montrose, Sara Wolfe of Clio, Kelli Kraemer and Maureen Mullally of Grand Blanc, Erin May of Flushing, Matthew Wallace of Powers Catholic and Jennifer Eisinger, Luc Hildebrand, Stephanie Coates, Cathleen Dymond, Chelsea Belanger, Andrew Patrick and Alicia Carter of Goodrich.
Another scholarship was given away at this year’s event. The 2010 Kayla O’Mara Memorial Scholarship given in memory of Ruth O’Mara was given away to students from Grayling High School. This year’s recipients were Alyssa Barnett, Kelsey Newberger, Colin Hamlin, Cayla Johnson, Devon Bobenmoyer and Chelsea Mott.
Friends, family members and former teammates came out to support Kayla and participate in the race including twin sister Kaitlin and former Goodrich teammates Janee Jones, Danielle Bila, Kelsey Krych and Kelsey Meyers.
This race goes on year after year to make sure Kayla is not forgotten. Family members say she inspired others to do their best and this race embodies that.
“We think if she had the opportunity, she would have done a lot of good in the world and this is our way of making sure she is still able to do that,” said Erin O’Mara, Kayla and Kaitlin’s older sister.
Besides the 5k run, the events also included a 5k walk, one mile run/walk and a 10k state championship run. This year, Suzanne Larsen set a new course record in the 10k run with a time of 36:38. For breaking the course record, Larsen received $100 on top of the other awards.
Next year’s race is already in the works and is set for August 6, 2011.
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