On Sunday, the Tamaqua Runners Club(TRC) presented scholarship awards to six high school seniors via their 21st Annual Truskey Memorial 5K Run, which was held last August at the Tuscarora State Park in Barnesville.
The scholarships were presented in prelude to this year's 22nd Annual Chris and Kevin Truskey Memorial Run to be held at the Tuscarora State Park in Barnesville on Saturday, August 25.
Receiving the scholarships were top senior female finisher Amber Carroll, a Tamaqua grad; second place female finisher Cecily Kohlmeir, a Tamaqua grad; first place secondary male finisher PD Gantert, via the Keystone Track; first place secondary female finisher Emma Doughman, via the Keystone Track; first place Schuylkill League male finisher Sam Kantner, a Blue Mountain grad; second place Schuylkill League male finisher Doug Wells, a Mahanoy Area grad; first place Schuylkill League female finisher Paige Mahmod, a Mahanoy Area grad; and second place Schuylkill League female finisher Kayla Susko, a Jim Thorpe grad.
Sadly, 12 years ago, in 2002, Chris's younger brother Kevin, also a Tamaqua cross country runner, died as a result of a car accident. Kevin was a former Schuylkill League Champion on the Tuscarora Park course. The race now became the Chris and Kevin Truskey Memorial Run. Originally the scholars were given only to a Tamaqua senior boy and girl. That year, an additional two scholarships were awarded to seniors outside of the Tamaqua School District. Since then, the scholarships have increased to eight each year. To date, over $51,000 has been awarded.
The race was first held in August of 1991 to honor the memory of Chris Truskey, who died as a result of a car accident in September of 1990, only a few months after he graduated. Chris was a former high school cross country runner under coach Ray Edwards and ran practices at Tuscarora State Park. A family friend, Wendy Dunkelberger of Tamaqua, was approached about starting a memorial race for Chris Truskey. Dunkelberger got together with the Truskey family, Drew Benyo of Jim Thorpe, and other volunteers and friends to organize the run. This also lead to the creation of the Tamaqua Runners Club (TRC). Serving in the club are officers Dunkelberger, who serves as President; Wayne Truskey (Chris's and Kevin's father), Vice President; Pat Truskey (mother), member; Debbie Thompson, treasurer; and Marie Houser, secretary.
"What started out to be a small race has grown throughout the past 22 years to be a much bigger event than was imagined, with numbers as high as 420," said Dunkelberger. "The run is listed on the Runners World website and has drawn runners from other states as well as locally."
Dunkelberger added, "This race has been made possible through the many contributions of local businesses and shirt sponsors, of whom have been sponsors for all 22 years." The Truskey's added, "There are also a large amount of volunteers who come together on race day to help."
The race includes a 5K run, a 10K run and a 5K walk. The challenging course, which includes trails through the park and macadam road surfaces, runs through scenic Tuscarora State Park.
Dunkelberger encourages participants to arrive early to register for the run/walk, which starts at 10 a.m.
A large array of free food and refreshments are served to participants and volunteers following the run/walk. Water stops are also staged throughout the course. Door prizes will also be offered.
Proceeds will benefit the annual Truskey Scholarship Fund. For more information, contact the Truskeys at (570) 386-2922, or via Facebook.Dunkelberger added, "We have many runners who return year after year because of the atmosphere of the run and also the bean soup."