PARKERSBURG - Tony Cottrell was a valuable member of the River City Runners & Walkers Club for many, many years.
Even after being diagnosed with a brain tumor he continued to train with his running partners, Julie Black and Sharon Marks. He passed away within a few months of the diagnosis, however, leaving a void in the running and walking community in which he loved to participate.
The RCR&W elected to honor their fallen comrade in the only way befitting the longtime runner-putting on a memorial 5K race to raise money to sponsor a scholarship for other runners who would like to continue their love of the sport on the college level.
Jackson Middle School head cross country coach Sharon Marks works out with several members of the Parkersburg High School cross country program in preparation for Sunday’s final Tony Cottrell Memorial 5K Run/Walk Race. (Photo by Jim Butta)
Tony's wife LouAnn became the first director of the race and when she stepped down, Black and Marks took over the position. The race, which will begin and end at Parkersburg's Stadium Field, will be in its 13th and final year when the race begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
"It (directing the race) has been a wonderful experience and if it is only once a year, we can remember a good friend," said Marks.
The proceeds from the race benefit the River City Runners and Walkers Club High School Cross Country Scholarship Fund. The race has been very successful in the past and the scholarship will continue even though the race will end this year.
Volunteers this year, as in the past, will be members of the PHS cross country team as well as others.
"It is with much sadness we are ending the race, but most memorial races have a lifespan and we feel it is time to move on to other projects," added Marks. "We are hoping for a record breaking crowd for this final tribute to a wonderful man."
Applications can be found at rivercityrunnersandwalkers.com or at the YMCA, or On the Run, or by contacting Sharon Marks at 304-481-1741. Awards will be given to the first place finisher in each division of the run and walk.
Registration will open at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday at PHS. The race will begin at 2 p.m. with a series of Kid's Races taking place one hour later.