Montoursville 5K race marks somber anniversary of TWA Flight 800 tragedy

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MONTOURSVILLE, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Saturday marks a somber anniversary of a tragedy that impacts Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania to this day.

25 years ago, TWA Flight 800 exploded off the coast of Long Island. Among those on board, 16 Montoursville Area High School students and their five adult chaperones. Every five years, the community honors the lives lost by holding a 5K race in remembrance.

The 5K run/walk is called the Race in Remembrance, and it is designed to do just that. The two-part event brings runners and walkers together as they balance many emotions at such a difficult time of the year in Montoursville.

“I think there is a tough balance there. The camaraderie, the community, that is built around the running community is strong. It’s powerful, encouraging, it’s motivating. But what I mean by a tough balance, you do take that step back you realize there are 21 people who can’t participate in that experience and can’t be with you. So, you have the solemn feel,” Nathan Kimble, Montoursville cross country head coach, said.

Jennifer Devore of Montoursville ran the race in 2016 with her daughter, and plans to run again this year. She says the runners know this event is different from their other races on their calendar.

“It’s different because we are memorializing people who passed away 25 years ago as of tomorrow. And the running community is strong in this county and especially in this town,” Devore said.

Kimble is proud some of his athletes will run the race. He hopes they will enjoy the run, while taking time to remember those who never made it home.

“But I mean there is that celebration as well knowing we are here to celebrate and memorialize who they were as individuals,” Kimble said.

“It serves a purpose and makes you think about and wonder what these kids would be doing today. It also helps to remember them and keep their memory alive,” Devore said.

The 5K run and 2.1 mile walk is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning. COVID protocols will be in place.

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