Ashcraft Award

Kevin Ashcraft, one of the Track Club’s members, passed away on October 11, 1996. Kevin, aged 34, died of head injuries sustained in an auto accident on Sunday, September 30th. The Track Club mourns Kevin’s passing. Kevin’s wife, Liz was also injured in the accident, but thankfully only suffered minor injuries. Kevin & Liz have two children, Kaitlin Marie (3) and Nathan James (16 months).

I have been thinking of that last run I had with Kevin, the Track Club race at John Ball Park. There wasn’t any doubt as to what the outcome was going to be, Kevin was going to blow us away in time. No, the thing that returns over and over was the glory of running, of living. John (Manion), Kevin and I moved as a unit, pressing but not wasting ourselves each gauging each other’s strength. That is how I want to remember Kevin, sailing down the road thinking only of the run. It occurs to me that that is the reason why we run, for the perfect days, the thrill of the rare day when you feel like you’re striding as fast as you can, where fatigue brings determination and you feel like you could go on forever.

It is easy to get caught up with the mundane, tedious aspects of life. To sweat the little things is what we have been trained to do, and many of us, too many, do that well. I want to suggest that the lesson of Kevin’s death and life is a reminder that life is too short and fragile to worry about being happy right at this instant, not having a good day this day. Our experience with running is that not every day is the perfect day. There are the aches and pains, the cold, wet miserable weather that is endured. Somehow when we run on those days we talk about the uncommonly good days. We run for those glorious days when everything goes right. Let’s let Kevin’s life be an invitation to live like we run: enduring the hard, dark painful days for the one perfect day, however rare. I know Kevin ran like that and didn’t let the bad runs get him down, so I imagine he lived his life for the rare, perfect day. So we all should.

Nice run, Kevin.

(Above is an excerpt from the Grand Rapids Track Club Newsletter from October of 1996 written by David O’Donnell)

At the Winter Race Director’s Meeting on October 27, 1996, the Officers and Race Directors decided that a “Kevin Ashcraft Award” would be established. The award would be presented each year to the person who has done the most for the club during the year. Below is the list of people who have won the Award since that time:

ASHCRAFT AWARD WINNERS

1996 KATHY HAASE
1997 WALLY YPMA
1998 DON YEAGER
1999 NAN AND JODI HULST
2000 DENNY SCULLY
2001 BRUCE BABCOCK
2002 TAMARA STEIL
2003 SHAWN AND JOYCE SWEET
2004 KEVIN HOLMES
2005 MIKE AND JAN LAPP
2006 BARB MINIER
2007 PAUL BEUSCHEL
2008 KEN DEBACK
2009 SUE MERIZON
2010 FRANCINE ROBINSON
2011 “MARATHON” DON KERN
2012 STEPH VanHOWE
2013 SUZANNE KOSLOSKI
2014 AMBER GONZALEZ
2015