Memorial 5K honors graduate

Fort Frye friends salute man’s love for running

8-17 kyle 1

Each year, as the Kyle Bankes Memorial 5K winds through the village, the runners and walkers pass the place where Bankes rests in the Beverly Cemetery.

Passing that spot, with sometimes 100 or more of the people who cared so much for Kyle, is emotional but also a highlight for his mother, Maureen Foley Welch.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” she said. “People might think this is all about raising money and we’re happy to raise the money but more importantly it makes me think people remember Kyle. There are so many of his classmates, teachers and parents of his high school friends that come year after year. It’s a way to honor him.”

This Saturday will mark the fifth year for the race, which was started by Bankes’ former track/cross country coach and other friends just weeks after his July 13, 2013 death in a motorcycle crash near Zanesville. Bankes, 22, a 2009 Fort Frye High School graduate, had just completed four years in the U.S. Marines and was scheduled to start attending classes at Ohio University that fall.

“We were just in shock and grief but others who cared about him threw it together so fast,” said Welch. “He had a love for running.”

For the first four years, the 5K raised money for scholarships. This year, some of the proceeds will go to local nonprofits that provide help for those in need in the community. Other funds raised will go back to the military, said Welch.

“We’re going to have a place where people can sign cards and notes,” she said. “We’re going to send cookies and care packages.”

Welch said the event has some especially high-quality raffle items this year, including $100 gift cards, golf outings and more.

Raffle tickets are $5 or three for $10. Race registration is $25 the day of the race or $20 in advance.

The 5K team will have a table set up Friday at the Waterford Community Fair with registration forms. Forms are also available at Merle Norman and Bella Via in Marietta and Connection Day Spa in Lowell. Online registration is available at kylebanks5k.com.

The race starts at 8:30 a.m. at Fort Frye High School, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Welch said the event is a fun, competitive community race that really incorporates the spirit of her son.

“Kyle was just happy,” she said. “He loved life, he was adventurous and he was a friend to everybody.”

If you go

¯ What: Fifth annual Kyle Bankes Memorial 5K.

¯ Where: Starts at Fort Frye High School.

¯ When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday; Registration at 7:30 a.m.

¯ Cost: $25 on the day of the race; $20 in advance.

For information: kylebanks5k.com