41 HOPE 5K honors memory of Blake LaForce

By Darrell Wacker



VANDALIA — Nearly 200 runners took to the streets of Vandalia Saturday morning for the2nd Annual 41 HOPE Blake LaForce 5K Memorial Run/Walk. The race honors the memory of former Butler Aviator Blake LaForce who survived leukemia with a bone marrow transplant only to succumb to complications from a nervous system infection.

The 41 HOPE 5K raises money for the Blake LaForce #41 Memorial Fund, a VISIONS Endowment Fund, of the Vandalia and Dayton Foundations. The #41 Fund provides two annual college scholarships, one for a boy and one for a girl student athlete, as well for enhancing the student athlete’s experience, at Vandalia-Butler High School.

“We had almost 200 runners and walkers, almost the same number of each,” said Mark LaForce, Blake’s father and founder of the memorial fund. “With the Vandalia-Butler community’s continued support the 41 HOPE 5K is growing steadily and is a memorable time.”

The overall winner of the 5K run was Kyle Wertz with a time of 19:08.  The top female runner was Sarah Glendenning in a time of 22:20. Complete results can be found by clicking the links below.

Run results by age 

Run results – overall

Walk results by age

Walk results – overall

The race was sponsored by Beau Townsend Ford, Ken Spicer, Tom and Roberta Smigel, and Bob and Theresa Lonsbury as silver level sponsors; Andy McDermott, Digital Cowboy Computers, Heidelberg Distributing, Jenkins & Bevan Insurance, Mauro Orthodontics, and the Neely Dental Team as bronze sponsors; and Basic Drugs, Bloom, Crossroads Coins, Dick Fahrney, Furst Florist and Greenhouses, Heeter Plumbing, Larry & Mary Jo Mumford, Lorain HS Steelmen, Class of ’69, McDonalds, Outback Steak House, SAMS Club, Spieles Insurance Agency, Steve Drongowski, Pure Couture Prom, Butler Kickline, Don Lynam, S & R Digital Photography, Vandalia Animal Clinic, Vandalia Optometry, and the Vandalia Recreation Center.

“Many thanks go to the Butler Kickline/Vandalia Dance Ensemble girls and parents for spearheading the 41 HOPE 5K and our Committee for supporting the Blake LaForce #41 Memorial Fund to benefit Butler Aviator student athletes while keeping Blake’s legacy alive,” said LaForce. “Thank you to all of the participants, the many local and regional sponsors, Vandalia-Butler City Schools, Athletic Director Roger Bowen, football coaches Greg Bush and staff, the Board of Education, the City of Vandalia, Vandalia Fire Dept / EMT, Kohls, Dr. Jim Klosterman’s family and staff for volunteering, the Vandalia Drummer, and, WDTN Channel 2 News.”