This morning my eldest daughter ran in the 5th annual Watauga River Run 5k race on Broadstone Road. I exercised by pressing the shutter button. Pre-race I milled around Valle Crucis Elementary School, I ran into the new principal, Wayne Eberle. Because the race started and finished in the school's parking lot I assumed that Wayne was out there overseeing his domain. I was mistaken. Instead, Eberle was out there to run the 5k as he has done for the past five years...
You see, the race is run in honor of the memories of Gwen Tyrie and Andy Palmer . All proceeds benefit both the area media centers and the Zap Fitness Foundation . This year, Valle Crucis Elementary will reap the rewards of the race and purchase new books for the library.
"We will place name plates within each book with Gwen's name," said Eberle.
This race is not about competition or personal records for Eberle. It runs much deeper than that. Before Eberle became principal of Valle Crucis he worked with Gwen at Blowing Rock Elementary as a 3rd grade teacher.
"She was the most special teacher," said Eberle.
The first time Eberle ever ran a 5k was at the inaugural run held in May 2002 after the tragic death of Gwen.
"I weighed over 225 lbs and wasn't in shape," said Eberle as he invited me into his office to view his before and after photos.
The slimmed down man now runs daily and thoughts of Gwen often run through his mind as well.
"When I run, I am able to sort through problems and the business of my day, but this run today is special because everything is coming together in a circle. I am principal at Valle Crucis school which is hosting a benefit run in Gwen's memory that will benefit the school I am at," said Eberle.
Oh and, I have created a blog album of photos for those of you who enjoy seeing strangers run in a strange land...