A team effort

Adam Eadens

By the time Peter Kimaru came in sight of the finish line Saturday, his stride was different from the one that powered him to third place position.

That one was gone. Each stride was now a stagger. His legs had no more to give.

He collapsed.

Kimaru was no longer running, but he was within a few hundred feet from where he was supposed to stop.

“When I saw Pete, the only thing I was thinking was to pick him up and see if he was OK,” Jef Scott said. “I’m not going to let Pete go through that.”

And he didn’t.

Scott’s action wasn’t the only sign of teamwork at The Medical Center 10K Classic Saturday. More than 2,200 people raced over six miles in heat and humidity.

In an event designed for individual competitors, many groups displayed the power of teamwork. Nine members of the Bowling Green Fire Department, as well as 18 members of Western’s ROTC Ranger Team, entered and finished the race in their respective uniforms. The two groups started and finished the race as a team.

Helping hand

“The race was very good, except for the last (kilometer),” Kimaru said. “I cramped in both legs. I just couldn’t finish.

“I was thinking, ‘Whether I’m going to crawl, or whether I’m going to walk or jog, I have to finish the race.'”

Kimaru and the rest of the onlookers on Big Red Way would never find out if he would finish on his own. Friend and fellow competitor Scott helped Kimaru to his feet, supported his weight and walked arm-in-arm with him over the last 20 yards to the finish.

“There was just no way I could have just run by him, not if he was down,” Scott said. “Pete’s the kind of guy, he’d of done the exact same thing for me.”

Scott and Kimaru, who finished together for fourth and fifth place, respectively, were two of the four Western alumni to finish in the top five. The four, including Rob Pritchett and James Scott, ran together through three and a half miles into the race before they began vying for position. Pritchett finished second and James Scott third.

“I got lucky. I had a good run, and I think others suffered a bit,” Pritchett said. “We all come from a good program.”

Western’s women alumni also had a strong showing. Alumna Christina Wells won the event for the third straight year.

“It’s always nice to run here in Bowling Green,” she said. “A lot of my fondest memories are of college here.”

Michelle Scott, assistant coach of Western’s women’s cross country team, finished third.

To Commemorate

While Kimaru’s finish was the first dramatic scene of the day, it wasn’t the only example of teamwork. Members of the fire department helped carry their partner’s equipment during a portion of the race.

The group wore full fire fighting gear with the exception of the liners from their fire suits. They also wore athletic shoes instead of boots, but did wear helmets and air tanks, bringing the total weight of the uniform to almost 40 pounds.

“These guys carried my bottle the last two miles,” Captain Bob Sanborn said. “Nine guys started with nine bottles and nine finished. That’s what it’s all about.”

The firefighters wore “343” on the front of their helmets, representing the 343 firefighters lost at the World Trade Center a year ago.

“We thought we’d do something to commemorate our brothers that died up in New York,” said Capt. Roy Sims, a 16-year member of the department. “We had one or two hurting a little bit. We just kind of stayed back and helped each other out.”

The group also carried an American and a New York Fire Department flag during the race.

“We didn’t do it for ourselves,” Sanborn added. “We did it for those guys (in New York).”


Eighteen members of Western’s ROTC Ranger Team completed the race as a group. They used The Medical Center 10K as a practice for their Third Brigade Ranger Challenge competition in late October.

At that competition, the last event will be to cover ten kilometers as a group. Each member ran in head-to-toe camouflage, including face paint, and carried their fully-loaded packs, which weigh around 40 pounds each, just as they will have to do at the competition.