Ben K-5K Race Draws Big Crowd
They arrived at Center United Methodist Church by bicycle, wagon and even on four fuzzy paws to pay honor and their respects to a Hustontown area man who lost his life four years ago in a traffic accident just miles from his home.
The popular Ben K-5K held Saturday honored the late Ben Knepper, who was as renowned in northern Fulton County and beyond for his quick wit and smile as he was for his love of family, friends and the great outdoors. Ben died in 2005 on his way from JLG Industries just after a brief rainstorm had swept through the area.
At the time of his death, Ben was six credits short of obtaining a business management degree through the Mont Alto campus of Pennsylvania State University. Recognizing his thirst for knowledge, Ben's family and close friends established the Ben Knepper Scholarship Fund, which is funded annually through the 3.1-mile walk along Dublin Mills Road.
Almost 200 individuals registered for the July 25 event that included both stiff competition for runners and walkers. According to event organizer G. Joshua Newman, of the official entrants an estimated 45 joined the event as runners.
Ending race results showed several participants walking away with back-to-back and, in two special cases, multiple victories. Cody Myers took the overall male category as well as the male division for ages 18-39 with a time of 19.35. Meanwhile, Steve Novick took top honors in the male 40-and-over division finishing the 5K in 19.36. Eric Broadwater of Waterfall recorded his third consecutive victory in the male 17-and-under category with a time of 20.27.
On the ladies side, Courtney Newman continued her winning streak, clinching her fourth Ben K-5K title and also the 18-39 category with a recorded time of 20.50. Jenna Hollenshead, an upand coming track star at Southern Fulton, won the female 17- and-under in 24.33. For the second straight year, Deanne Baker of Needmore garnered a firstplace win in the female 40-andover division. Baker finished the race with a time of 24.58.
Winners received special shirts from Manor Care as well as a medal compliments of the Knepper family. Switching up the award process from previous years, the top 50 finishers to cross the line received medals donated by Sue and Barb Thomas, who also contributed green participant ribbons for the remaining competitors.
Companies, organizations and residents sponsoring this year's annual race included Forbes Road Lions Club, Center United Methodist Church, Newman's Market, Edgewood Pro Hardware, Tinman Body Shop, Barnett's Self Storage, Wen- Brooke Contracting Inc., Community State Bank of Orbisonia, Sandy Ridge Market, Waterfall Cable, Rotz-Mountz families, Second Time Around, Spring Run Lumber Barn, Charles Cook and Sarah Hawkins, Ketchum family and Black's Garage. Others receiving special recognition from Newman for their assistance were New Enterprise REC, Zack and Becky Newman and Don Pierrot.
Aside from sponsorships, donations and T-shirt fees associated with the Ben K-5K netted over $5,000 for the Ben Knepper Scholarship Fund. Money from the fund is awarded annually to at least one deserving senior from Forbes Road High School, who, like Ben, is interested in furthering their education. This year's scholarship recipients were 2009 graduates Haley Strait and Jamie Stoey.
"I really need to thank all of the sponsors, volunteers and participants," concluded Newman. "Without everyone's involvement, the event wouldn't be possible."