April 29, 2014

Race means more than running

The Daily Citizen

— The race is over, the winners announced and planners of Run for John are no doubt prepping for next year’s event.

Yet the results of this race, held for the seventh year this past weekend at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, are more than just who ran the fastest in the 5K run or the one-mile fun run. The ultimate winners are the individuals awarded college scholarships from funds raised by race organizers.

The Run for John supports a scholarship program in memory of John Bruner, who unknowingly had a rare artery defect and died of cardiac arrest near the finish line of Chattanooga’s Missionary Ridge road race on Aug. 4, 2007.

Bruner was a 2006 graduate of Dalton High School where he was an honors student and standout distance runner in cross country and track and field. He was The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Boys Cross Country Co-Runner of the Year as a senior, and he went on to compete for Georgia College and State University.

He died doing what he enjoyed so much — running. So his parents, Greg and Margie Bruner, started this annual race that attracts more than 300 participants. (Congratulations to Margie Bruner, who won the female masters’ crown this year. She and Greg have always run this race together.)

The scholarship program has awarded more than $60,000 to race volunteers or runners who are college-bound or in college. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must submit an essay with a spiritual theme related to a religious paper that John Bruner wrote in college.

The scholarship has aided seven students financially to help them achieve their academic dreams.

Helping others earn their higher education degrees while promoting fitness is an exemplary and community-minded way to keep alive the memory and spirit of a fondly remembered student-athlete like John Bruner.