The Solanco cross country program has a rich tradition that is evident in many ways.
In addition to developing successful student-athletes, the Mules are dedicated to honoring the memory of one of their own.
Former Solanco runner Kevin Regan died in an accident in the summer of 1975 following his sophomore year at Juniata College.
Since then, the cross country program has hosted a race in Regan's honor.
The Kevin Regan Memorial Run will be held at the high school Saturday, October 5. Solanco elementary and middle school students are invited to compete.
The race's origins trace back to 1966 with then-coach Lee Rhodes. Known as the Solanco Invitational, the unique event featured premier high school squads running through the streets of Quarryville.
Following Regan's passing, coach Art Harrington renamed the race in honor of Regan.
"Kevin was a great kid," Harrington said. "He was a 100 percent effort kid. His brother, Tom, won the mile at the state meet when Kevin was in junior high and that inspired Kevin to run. He was loved by all of his teammates and everyone who knew him. One way we could honor his memory was to name the race after him."
That version of the Kevin Regan Memorial Run ended in the early 1980s. Some coaches preferred not to have their runners compete on roads. "Over time, it wore itself out," Harrington said.
Determined to preserve a race remembering Regan, Harrington established a developmental competition for elementary and middle school students to promote running. Harrington viewed the new Regan Run as a way to introduce kids to the sport while identifying future Solanco runners.
The Regan family is grateful Solanco cross country and the community continue to honor Kevin.
"From the time Coach Rhodes established the cross country program through the years of Coach Harrington to the present, there has been a great tradition of running at Solanco," Tom Regan said. "It has been a joy to do a very small part in perpetuating that tradition and my mother and I are honored that the event carries Kevin's name. It is the dedication of coaches like Jen McDowell and Craig Ausel that continue the opportunity for the young folks to participate in a foot race."
The race schedule: Kindergarten, 1/4 mile, 9 a.m.; first grade, 1/4 mile 9:10; second grade, 1/2 mile, 9:20; third grade, 1/2 mile 9:30; fourth grade, 1/2 mile, 9:40; fifth grade, 3/4 mile 9:50. Elementary awards - 10:05; sixth grade, 1 mile, 10:25; seventh grade, 1 mile, 10:40; eighth grade, 1 mile, 10:55. awards ceremony - 11:20.
There are two traveling trophies. One goes to the Solanco elementary school with the highest percentage of participation and the other is presented to the middle school team with the highest point total. Medals and ribbons are awarded to the top individual finishers in each race.
The races start on Solanco High School JV baseball fields. Registration is held in the field house between the baseball fields. Participants should arrive 20 minutes prior to the their race and bring a signed permission slip to the starting line.
There will be concession stands with proceeds benefitting the Solanco cross country program and to offset the cost of holding the races. Food will be collected for the Solanco Food Bank with the school bringing the most food receiving a plaque to be hung at the school.