MORGANTOWN — Running into its 12th year, the Annual Jim Dunn Memorial Twilight 5-miler and 2-mile walk will be taking place July 13.
The starting and ending point is the Wharf Street Parking Garage.
Jim Dunn, a track athlete, graduated from WVU in 1972. He managed several local restaurants, coached Special Olympics and volunteered his time with youth sports.
When Jim died suddenly in 2007, his wife, Darlene, wanted to do something in honor of his commitment to serving his community. She dedicated the annual run to him. The funds help supplement the Jim Dunn Memorial Scholarship, awarded to West Virginia students who participate in track and field programs.
She said it’s one of those races that a lot of runners look forward to because it’s a night run, and most races are held earlier in the day.
Plus, after the race runners get to do some of their favorite things, said Dunn, which is eat and drink.
“It always amazes me how much food they can put away and how much beer they can put away because they have high metabolism,” she said laughing.
Dunn herself is not a runner, so one of things she did when she took the race over was to make it a community event so that spectators, family and friends who come to watch the runners would have something else to do.
“We’ve got good food from Olivero’s, we’ve got beverages from Mona Supply and Pepsi, and we also have the fun walk,” she said.
Runners can run their miles, and the families can walk and come back and eat, drink and have a good time.
She said they always have a really great community response. Weather permitting they almost always have over 500 people there.
People come from all over the U.S. and often try to plan their vacations around it.
She said hopefully it won’t rain, but it has always rained at least a little bit. She said it’s a way of Jim letting her know he’s there.
“I think it’s my husband’s way of reminding me that he’s still around because the first year, in 2007, it poured,” She said, “until the race started there was a double rainbow that went over the Mon River.”
The Morgantown Parking Authority has been kind to Dunn, she said, and donates the Wharf District Parking Garage to help keep everyone out of the elements.
In addition to the scholarships, the money raised also helps Stepping Stones supplement activities for those with disabilities. Jim volunteered his time with Stepping Stones, and since 2013 Stepping Stones has been co-beneficiary and co-supporter of the annual event.
The scholarships are awarded by Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia Inc. and are valued at $1,000 each.