Posted: Jul 19, 2014 11:36 AM by Eric Kelly, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Jul 20, 2014 5:15 PM
JEFFERSON CITY - Runners gathered Saturday morning for the 8th Annual Kyle Billington Memorial 5K in Jefferson City.
The event is held to honor Billington, who passed away on June 24, 2006 in a single car accident. Friends and family said before his death Billington was heavily involved in the Jefferson City Road Runners club and became passionate about running.
Several event coordinators said that the event has grown in attendance since it first began, especially over the past five years. Billington's mother, Debbie Jungmeyer, said she was surprised, but happy about the increased support.
"I'm just overwhelmed. Grinning from ear to ear. I'm just so pleased," she said.
The run raises money for the Jefferson City High School cross country team. It also provides funding for a pair of $500 scholarships that go to two Jefferson City High School students, one male and one female, who are active in cross country.
"I believe the kids appreciate what we've done, and it's all for them. That's what I do it for now, for the kids," Jungmeyer said.
While the cross country team appreciates the funds, coach Brett Phillips said the race is about more than money.
"It's a celebration about those who want to stay physically fit and healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle. That's what Kyle was passionate about and that's what Debbie and the family are now passionate about and, you know, we are too," Phillips said.
The event has raised over $40,000 and provided 14 scholarships to date.
[Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct the age of Mr. Billington and the number of scholarships.]