BY DAN WINDHOLZ
Runners of all ages and stages of fitness bustled amid brief announcements over the megaphone, chatting with their neighbors, stretching, or warming up, bright and early on the morning of Oct. 5. The conglomeration of students, parents, siblings and friends of Franciscan University gathered to celebrate the memory of Kelly Roggensack, a Franciscan student who died in a tragic car accident, by pursuing two of her passions: audacious clothing and competitive running.
Dan Kuebler, Roggensack’s former coach, instituted the races in 2008, the year she died.
“It was kind of a last minute, thrown-together thing, and we decided to make it happen every year,” Kuebler said.
According to Kuebler, Roggensack was very unique, confident and uncaring of what people thought of her. This attitude was reflected in the runners’ attire: from neon shirts to chicken hats and bow ties, the enthusiasm held by the runners truly celebrated Roggensack’s memory. The race was a true memorial to the late Roggensack and her passions of expressing herself and competition.
There were three races: a kids’ 1K fun run, a 3K walk, and a 5K run. The kids’ fun run took place in Assisi Heights, where children ages 5 to 11 participated. The participants lapped the Heights twice before crossing the finish line near the Community Center. The overall winners for each age group were Mary Rohde (5 and under), Daniel Bolster (6 and 7), Wyatt Brown (8 and 9), and Cecilia Libetti (10 and 11).
The second race was the 3K walk. The two winners were Ed Kovach and Marianne DuBois. Kovach is a professor of computer science at Franciscan, and DuBois is the wife of Ron DuBois, who is a professor of music. This was DuBois’ first walk, and she trained for three months.
Dubois was not only involved in this race because of her husband but also because she had experienced the accident.
“I was moving my son into his dorm when the accident happened,” DuBois said. “We saw the overturned truck on the way back; it was a very vivid scene, and I can still see it.”
The final race was the 5K run, in which the most runners participated. The run started in Assisi Heights, continued behind Egan, curved around Antonian Hall, took the dirt path behind Thomas More, Kolbe and Clare, and Louis and Elizabeth residence halls, passed the friary, went around the soccer and baseball fields, and headed back up to the Heights where the runners did a lap before crossing the finish line.
A bicyclist in an orange vest guided the racers. The 5K male winner was Adam Estavillo with a time of 18 minutes, 42.0 seconds. The 5K female winner was Jane Crosby, a Franciscan student, with a time of 21 minutes, 37.0 seconds.