Run/walk will honor memory of Wayne Burlison
Music teacher helped start Albion Running Club
ALBION – Wayne Burlison was 36 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in December 2013.
An Albion elementary music teacher, Burlison lived 3 months and 17 days after his diagnosis. Thursday (March 26) was the one-year anniversary of his death.
On Saturday, his friends have organized the first “Run for Wayne,” a 3.17-mile run or walk to raise money for a scholarship in his name. Participants also have the option of a 1-mile course.
Organizers will post signs along the course route with some of Burlison’s favorite sayings, including “Can’t isn’t a word, try again.”
The event will begin at 12:01 p.m. at the elementary school and participants will head east on Route 31 to Mount Albion Cemetery. They will pass Burlison’s grave and then head back to the school.
“It seems very poignant to honor Wayne in this way because running was very important to him,” said Mark Moore, the race director and member of the Albion Running Club.
Nearly 150 people have already registered for the event. Registrations are open up until 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Participants will receive a shirt and medal, with proceeds going to a scholarship in Burlison’s memory. (Click here for more information.)
Burlison was an active musician performing with many community bands and also participated in many groups at the school district. A concert in January with many of those musicians raised about $7,000 for the scholarship.
Brian Krieger, executive director of the Albion Running Club, expects the Run for Wayne will push get the scholarship funding past the $10,000 goal, including the fund-raising from the concert.
Krieger trained for a marathon with Burlison. The two were close friends. They led the “Run for God” program at the Albion Free Methodist Church, which helped beginning runners go from the couch to a 5K in about three months.
Burlison once weighed nearly 300 pounds and lost about half that weight. He became a big proponent for a balanced life with family, friends and faith, while also embracing fitness and healthy eating.
Krieger and Moore want the “Run for Wayne” to honor their friend, and also provide fitness motivation for people during the winter. The event can give people a training goal during the cold-weather months of January, February and March.
“We want to promote fitness earlier in the season and help kick off the running season,” Moore said.
The run/walk on Saturday will include opening ceremonies with a prayer and message from Lisa Burlison, Wayne’s wife.
“Run for Wayne” is set for a 12:01 start to represent one of Wayne’s favorite Bible verses, Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”