On Saturday, Oct. 12 nearly 200 runners will show up at the Luzerne County Sports Complex (2009 Wyoming Ave., Forty-Fort) to help celebrate the life of a women whose life was cut short by an awful disease.
The second annual Steph’s Fall 5K begins at 10:30 a.m.
Steph’s Fall 5k was started in 2012 as a way for her children, family, and friends to honor Stephanie and keep her memory alive. The proceeds raised from the race will help fund the Stephanie Godri-Johnston Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is awarded annually to cross country and/or track and field senior at Wyoming Area who exemplifies the characteristics that Stephanie possessed — a model student, athlete, volunteer, and a friend.
The run will also help raise awareness of the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States — colon cancer.
The annual run/walk is held during Stephanie’s favorite season, autumn.
Steph’s Fall 5k is a chip-timed, wheel-measured 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) run, 3 km (1.86 mi) walk, and a kids fun run through the grounds of the Luzerne County Sports Complex. It is a flat, mostly grass course with two rolling hills.
Runners can register for the race online or on Facebook at facebook.com/stephsfall5k. There will also be a race-day registration from 8:30-10:10 a.m. at the Main Pavilion.
Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female, along with the top 3 male and female age groups. The age groups are 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and over. Children 10 and under will receive a mini pumpkin.
The Godri family hopes to change the awareness of colon cancer with Steph’s Fall 5K, even though Stephanie would probably dismiss all the fuss. She is still remembered as a loving, giving, selfless person.
Aside from no direct connection to the disease, Godri-Johnston was a very active person, beginning with her time as a cross-country athlete from seventh to 12th grade at Wyoming Area. She also threw the discus, shot put and javelin at Wyoming Area.
Following a colonoscopy in Jan. 2011, doctors took a biopsy of a mass and discovered the cancer.
After several rounds of medication and chemotherapy, the once softball-sized tumor shrank but the “seeds” of the disease had broken through the wall of the intestine and taken root in the abdomen.
Godri-Johnston passed away on May 10, 2012, at age 32, far younger than the ages commonly associated with the disease.
The inaugural Steph’s Fall 5k was held last October, and was a great success on many levels. The race attracted more than 200 runners and walkers for the 5k race/3k walk held at the Luzerne County Sports Fields in Forty Fort.
In addition to the overwhelming turnout, the event raised $3,000 for the scholarship and another $1,500 that was donated to the Colon Cancer Alliance. Both of those numbers were beyond the initial goal for the cause.
Runners traveled from the Philadelphia area, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia to join a large contingent of local participants from Northeastern Pennsylvania to raise money and awareness in Stephanie’s name.
The National Anthem was sung by Beth Ann Connor and former Wyoming Area cross cross country and track & field coach, Nick Anzelmi, was the official race starter.
The overall winner was Brenden Ehret of Dallas and Renee Valenti led all women in the first annual race.