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Hundreds take part in Miles For Heils benefit run/walk

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 21 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Scores of runners leave the start line near the Lift Bridge for the Miles For Heils benefit run along the canal Towpath this mornings.

Light rain didn’t deter the enthusiasm as a large group of some 300 turned out this morning to take part in the Miles For Heils benefit run/walk to help the eight members of the Heil family of Medina which is striving to overcome the recent loss of their husband and father.

“It’s awesome. The community is just awesome,” said Frances Heil whose husband, Dennis passed away on December 2. The family includes seven children Alexander, Zachary, Austin, Holly, Daniel, Hannah and Hunter.

And it was an event which drew support for the Heil family not only from Medina but from the surrounding area as well.

The strong involvement of the Heil kids in cross-country and track at Medina High was well reflected in the large number of Medina High athletes who joined them for the event as well as runners from several other neighboring schools including Roy-Hart, Barker, Akron and Albion.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – The canal Towpath was crowded this morning with runners taking part in the Miles For Heils event. The view here is from the Marshall Road bridge as runners reach the half-way point.

“I walked with the girls on my basketball team,” said Holly Heil. “It was really nice to have our friends here and for the community to come together like this for a family. It’s really great.”

The event was also a special event for Austin Heil, who celebrated his birthday with a top three finish in the run which took a course along the historic canal towpath from the Lift Bridge to Marshall Road and back.

“”It’s pretty amazing,” said Austin. “I’m glad everybody showed up. It’s really nice.”

Austin was joined in the top three finishers by his former Medina High teammate Nick Zagmester and his friendly cross-country competitor from Barker Sergio Cruz.

“The Heils are very involved in cross-country and track so this seemed like the logical event to have,” said Medina High Art teacher Eric Valley who helped to organize the event along with fellow Art teacher Jennifer Scott.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Birthday boy Austin Heil, center, along with Sergio Cruz of Barker, left, and Nick Zagmester of Medina, right were the top three finishers of the Miles For Heils run.