CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — It’s been almost 10 years since Tim and Susan Cook’s lives were cut short in a car accident, but their lives have created a lasting legacy for the community they loved.
At Saturday’s Tim and Susan Cook Memorial ChambersFest One-Mile Race, runners came out to honor the couple’s memory and raise money for the Tim and Susan Cook Memorial Scholarship Fund.
As Sarah Boward inched closer to the finish line and a first-place finish in the women’s category in a time of 5 minutes, 29 seconds, she remembered the life lessons taught to her by Tim Cook, who was her coach at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.
Boward said it would have been a stretch to call her a natural runner, but Cook didn’t give up on Boward or any of his runners.
“He encouraged everybody,” said Boward, 33, of Fayetteville, Pa. “He took a personal interest in every single runner.”
It was Tim Cook’s quiet patience and love of running that inspired her. She has incorporated running into her life and is training for a triathlon.
Winning a race in Tim Cook’s name is a big deal, she said.
“I hope he’s looking down and seeing the runners he coached encouraging other runners in the same way he did,” Boward said.
Nick Rotz of Chambersburg finished in first place in the men’s category with a time of 4 minutes, 22.1 seconds, setting a new event record, according to race officials.
More than 120 runners braved the heat for the annual run in honor of the Cooks, who were killed by a drunken driver in an accident on Interstate 81 on Dec. 13, 2002.
Kathy Leedy, communications director for the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, which along with the Chambersburg Road Runners Club sponsored the event, said the race raises funds for the Tim and Susan Cook Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is administrated through the Chambersburg Area School District Foundation.
About $1,000 is awarded annually to a Chambersburg senior mathematics student and a senior business student to use toward college, Leedy said.
Before the race, April McCulloh of Mercersburg, Pa., applied sunscreen to her husband Tom’s back.
“I competed against (Tim Cook) in high school,” said McCulloh, who admitted that Cook was always the far superior runner.
While Robin Harmon rehydrated after running, she reminisced about having Cook as her high school cross country coach.
“I was not a good runner. My top finish in three years was (25th place), and the other team didn’t have any girls,” she said. “But he didn’t care if you weren’t the star if you wanted to try. He supported you.”
Other ChambersFest events
While the Cook memorial race kicks off ChambersFest, Harmon said the next big event is Scoop-a-Palooza, which is scheduled for next Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chambersburg Area Senior High School cafeteria.
Harmon, Scoop-a-Palooza committee chairwoman, said the event costs $7 for adults and $5 for those ages 4 to 12. Children younger than 3 are admitted free.
“We have sample cups,” Harmon said. “That way, you can try lots of flavors without filling up so quickly.”
The follow ice cream vendors are participating — Antietam Dairy, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Dietrich’s Ice Cream, Magic Ice Cream, The Meadows, Trickling Springs and Windy Knoll Creamery.
ChambersFest continues through July 29, featuring many activities the entire family can enjoy at little or no cost.
The largest event is Celebrate! The Arts at Old Market Day on July 21, when downtown Chambersburg is filled with a daylong street festival of music, arts and crafts.
The event is organized by the Downtown Business Council and the Council for the Arts, and attracts about 15,000 people to downtown Chambersburg. About 200 craft and food vendors will be on hand, and there will be entertainment and other activities throughout the day. Leedy said.
For more information on ChambersFest, call 717-264-7101 or go to www.chambersburg.org/community/chambersfest.