120 complete Colon Cancer Awareness 5K in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2019 at 10:22 pm

5th annual ‘Run for Wayne’ honors memory for Albion elementary music teacher

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Brian Krieger, director of the Albion Running Club, welcomes about 120 participants to the fifth annual Wayne Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness 5K.

Krieger was a close friend of Burlison, who was 36 when he passed away from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

The race is sponsored by Oak Orchard Health, which is trying to raise awareness about colon cancer as the third-leading cause of death by cancer for men and women. Colon cancer is preventable or treatable with the proper knowledge, resources and early detection.

Proceeds from the race go towards a scholarship in Burlison’s name. The Running Club also is donating money in memory of Burlison for a walking/running trail at Bullard Park.

Bob Pastecki shares a welcome message today at the start of the race. Pastecki is Burlison’s brother in law. He is wearing orange compression socks with Burlison’s name. Burlison used to wear orange compression socks for his training runs and at races.

Pastecki shared a welcome message from Lisa Burlison, Wayne’s wife. She was at a spelling bee in Batavia with the couple’s son, Adam.

“As we approach nearly 5 years since my late husband Wayne has passed, I find the passing of days to still be surreal at times,” she wrote. “These days are filled with things to do, seemingly spelled out with to-do lists and tasks. Life seems to move on, yet the longing for how things once were remains.

“This morning my son competed in the Regional Spelling Bee Competition. It required months, weeks, days, and hours of studying and preparing. He had a goal in sight, and he took many steps to get there. Competitive runners do the same. Starting small, increasing the rigor of training, to ultimately run a race. Wayne did this time and time again – Running 5ks, ½ and full marathons, with rest in between, but always setting a future goal to maintain his running stamina, and overall health.

“Wayne was not only intentional in how he ran, but in how he did life. He spelled out his days and knew how and what he needed to do. While he often admitted it was an imperfect process at times, he knew he would and could get back up and work towards his goals. My son did the same as he prepared for the spelling bee today. He experienced frustration with strange spellings and pronunciations, along with having the energy and commitment to work on the lists, with the nerves and strain of being on stage as all watch to see if he would make a mistake or move on to the next round.

“Life can feel like it is spelled out, both intentionally of our choosing, and also unintentionally as change and events of life forces onto our paths.

“So, as I have learned imperfectly there are a few words that are spelled out for me today, words that I remind myself to hold close to my heart. One is P-e-r-s-e-v-e-r-e; persevere, and the other is H-O-P-E, hope. May these be words also be of inspiration for you today.”

Meganne Moore, a seventh-grader and one of Burlison’s former students, finishes the race.

Joel Nowatchik of Lockport won the race in a time of 18:28 and Abigail Sortore of Bolivar was the fastest woman in a time of 21:07, which was third overall.

The runners shrugged off the chill to complete a course that started near the elementary school on Clarendon Road, and then went on Route 31 to Mont Albion Cemetery with a return back on 31 to the elementary school parking lot.

A group supporting Brett Sobieraski for sheriff takes a cool-down jog together after the race. Sobieraski was the 6th finisher overall with a time of 22:52.

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