By Jay Young
LAKEWOOD - Driving into the Lakewood YMCA parking lot, one is greeted by an expansive mural entitled "Amy's Playce."
It is a drive that this reporter has made hundreds of times, without ever knowing exactly who Amy was, and why she was memorialized at one of the community's favorite athletic complexes.
With the 13th annual Amy King 5K Run/Walk taking place again this Saturday, it is a fitting time to take a look back at the history of the event.
In 2001 while working as a flight attendant for United Airlines, Amy, a Celoron resident,was a victim of one of our country's most gravest tragedies. On Sept. 11, Flight 175 was hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m.
Amy was one of 60 people on board the plane who was killed. She was just 29 years old. In the wake of such a horrific loss of life, local community members looked for a way to honor Amy, who was beloved by all who knew her.
Amy had always enjoyed running, and it was her former Southwestern coach, Tom Priester and YMCA director Tom Anderson, who started the idea for Amy's Run. With the blessings from Amy's family, the race began 13 years ago on an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving weekend.
Ever since that first race, Amy's memory has continued to live on through her community. Proceeds from the race go towards an annual scholarship awarded to a graduating senior at Southwestern High School, as well as a variety of summer camp programs at the YMCA.
The 5K run/walk is set for 11 a.m., Saturday starting at the Lakewood Community Center.
The entry fee is $25 pre-race and $30 the day of the race. Checks should be made payable to the Lakewood YMCA, 183 East Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, 14750. Forms must be received by Friday in order to guarantee a limited-edition Amy King sweatshirt. Race-day registration runs from 9-10:30 a.m. An Amy King of the Hill race for youngsters ages 3-10 will be held at 11:30 a.m. Participation for that race is free.
See AMY, Page B2
From Page B1
The race is part of the Chautauqua Striders Runner of the Year Series that is sponsored by the WCA Center for Orthopedics, Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation.
The divisions making up the race are 14-and-under, 15-19, 20-24, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59 and 60 plus for men and women.