A global pandemic couldn’t stop the CPTC Foundation from running the third annual Trek for Tech 5K. A Foundation favorite, the event draws participants from all over our community.
The coronavirus pandemic meant that this year’s “very fun run” looked a little different, as runners registered to participate in individual runs rather than gather on the Lakewood campus.
“I love the Trek for Tech because it allows everyone to participate. From our oldest walkers at 83, to our youngest, they all participated to help students at CPTC. It is meant to be a very fun run,” says Foundation Executive Director Janet Holm.
While planning for the inaugural run was underway in late 2017, the committee received terrible news: beloved Environmental Science and Technologies instructor, Andy Fritz, and his wife, Jody, had been killed in a tragic bus accident while vacationing in Mexico. He had completed over 160 marathons, ultra-marathons, and 431 races in his career. An experienced long-distance runner and cross-country coach, Andy had been serving on the planning committee for the event’s first year. The Foundation decided to make Trek for Tech a memorial run to honor Andy and Jody.
Each year, the Trek for Tech names an Andy Fritz Memorial Scholarship recipient who is announced at the event. The 125 registered runners from this year’s event will help fund next year’s scholarship recipient. This year’s Andy Fritz Memorial Scholarship recipient is LPN student, Kyle Blevins.
“This scholarship is going to help me reach my goal of being the best psych nurse I can be,” says Blevins, who is a father of three in his fourth quarter of the program. Blevins is grateful for the scholarship, as he has been juggling school and care for his children, the oldest of which had brain surgery last year. “College is teaching me a lot about myself and how strong and resilient I am. With the help of scholarships like these, I am able to attend school while still being able to spend time with my son, who needs constant observation.”
In the past, Trek for Tech has needed the help of 30-40 volunteers to put on a successful on-campus race. Without the typical in-person gathering to coordinate, the Foundation’s two full-time staff members and accountant handled all the pieces of this year’s virtual event. Virtual or no, managing all those feet is no small feat. The virtual event still required its participants to do the race but left the details how, where, and when up to each person. The racers took the flexibility of location in stride and ran with it. The Foundation received reports of Trek for Techers running and walking as far north as Granite Falls, throughout the Puget Sound region, and south in Portland. One racer even wound up in Kansas.
All registered Trek for Tech racers received a race bib and a custom-made finisher’s medal produced by the CPTC Manufacturing program. Registrants were also entered into a prize drawing for one of two pairs of running shoes donated by South Sound Running.
Proceeds from the event support student scholarships, emergency assistance, and provide vital support to CPTC and its students. This year’s event was sponsored by our community partners, South Sound Running, and the Club Oly Road Runners.