Bluefield University will host its 11th Annual Jason Elswick Memorial Scholarship 5K Challenge, Saturday, September 15, and when the athletes hit the road for the 5K Run/Walk they’ll be sprinting for more than just awards and accolades. They’ll be running for scholarships and to preserve the memory of a local college student who lost his life before fulfilling his dream of becoming a teacher.
A Bluefield University junior from Tazewell, Virginia, majoring in math education, Jason Elswick died in October 2005 following a tragic car accident. In order to help students just like Jason fulfill their dream of becoming a teacher, his parents, David and Pam Elswick of Tazewell, along with family and friends, established the Jason Elswick Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The 5K Run/Walk at Bluefield University each fall is designed to support the scholarship fund and ultimately maintain Jason’s legacy on the BU campus, while providing vital financial aid for teacher education students.
“It is our desire that many students with the same goals and wonderful characteristics as Jason be helped through this scholarship,” said David and Pam Elswick. “It is also our wish that Jason’s memory live on through the lives of the students receiving the scholarship awards.”
This year’s 5K Run/Walk to support the Elswick Scholarship Fund will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of BU’s Dome Gymnasium. A required pre-race registration will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 8:25 a.m., followed by the race start at 8:30 a.m.
From the Dome in Bluefield, Virginia, runners will travel right onto Stadium Drive and then left onto College Avenue into Bluefield, West Virginia. They will then take a left onto Copley Avenue and left again onto Augusta Street, before going right onto Ferndell and then left back onto Stadium Drive. The race will conclude with participants passing through the Mitchell Stadium parking lot to Bowen Field, through the City Park loop, and then back to the Dome Gymnasium for the finish line.
“I was a teacher at Tazewell Elementary School, and I knew Jason. He was a sweet boy,” said Jill Rasnick of Tazewell, Virginia, a veteran supporter of the Elswick 5K. “We lost our son, T.J., to cancer in 2010. He was just 19. When I run, I say a little prayer for him. I know how the Elswicks feel. It’s hard. This is a great thing to do to keep their son’s memory.”
Awards will be presented to the top three overall male and female runners and walkers. In addition, medals will be presented to the top three male and female runners and walkers in each of the following age categories: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, and 65 and over.
The cost to participate is $25 with all proceeds going to support the Elswick Scholarship. All pre-registered participants will receive a souvenir race t-shirt.
“There really are no words to express how grateful we are for all the hard work, kindness and generosity of everyone in supporting Jason’s scholarship,” said the Elswicks. “The scholarship exists because businesses and individuals came together to help create something good from such a tragedy. We love and miss our son very much and ask that you hold us in your heart and prayers and help us keep Jason’s loving and giving spirit alive.”
To register for the Elswick 5K, visit the Bluefield University web site at www.bluefield.edu/elswick5K.
Friends who do not wish to run or walk in the 5K, but still would like to contribute to the scholarship fund and to the preservation of Jason’s memory may do so by sending a gift to Bluefield University, c/o The Elswick Scholarship Challenge, 3000 College Avenue, Bluefield, Virginia, 24605.