Blake Reed may be gone, but his memory continues to support athletics and the McPherson community.
McPherson College will honor Reed for the seventh year running with its annual Blake Reed Miracle Mile on Saturday. On average, 100 people turn out every year to participate.
"There's no age limit," said Paul Mierkiewicz, McPherson College's head football coach. "We have people come out to run with kids in strollers."
The mile-long run honors Reed, a McPherson High School graduate and McPherson College student who passed away on Aug. 3, 2010 due to complications of muscular dystrophy. He was 22 at the time.
"I was not fortunate enough to meet Blake, but through the stories people have shared, I feel like I know him," Mierkiewicz said. "He truly embodies everything McPherson College, the football program, and this town are about."
Reed was the student assistant coach for the McPherson College football team. Though he was unable to play, coaches considered him the heart of the team. In addition to coaching his fellow college students, Reed also visited with high school students to recruit them to the college football program.
"He thought so much of the community," said Dave Barrett, advancement officer for McPherson College. "His family wanted to find some way to keep his memory alive, not only in the college, but in the community."
For this reason, the Reed family established the Blake Reed Mac2Mac Football Scholarship. So far, this fund has provided $50,000 in scholarships to McPherson High School football players who choose to play football for McPherson College. The proceeds from the Blake Reed Miracle Mile contribute to this fund.
Previous recipients of the scholarship include James Temaat, John Davidson, Michael Ramos, Cole Long, Evan Clary and Kavoderic McIntyre.
"This is a great way to bring the community and college together," Barrett said. "This is a great way to represent All Schools Day and the All Schools Day spirit."
The mile run will be held in the McPherson College Stadium in McPherson, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the mile-long race beginning at 10 a.m. The fee is $25. T-shirts may be available but are not guaranteed.
"Blake will always be part of this program and the community. He touched so many lives, not only at the college, but in McPherson," Mierkiewicz said. "It's great to have people come and participate. It's a mile run, but it's not really about the run — it's about coming together to remember Blake."
Registration forms can be downloaded at https://www.mcpherson.edu/mac2mac/