Annual Dash in Scottdale raises scholarship cash

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, 5:42 p.m.

A bright and cheerful young man who was admired and loved by family and friends, Christopher Kiefer's young life ended too soon when he died from injuries that he suffered in an automobile accident in 2006.

Wishing to keep his memory alive while also helping other young students to reach their dreams, the Kiefer family of Scottdale established the Chris Kiefer Memorial Scholarship Fund that awards scholarships to selected seniors from the Southmoreland School District every spring.

To help fund the scholarships, friends and fellow classmates began to host the Dash Memorial, an annual event that draws participants from all over the area. This year's event will be held Aug. 17 in Scottdale's Loucks Park.

“It's so nice every year to see Christopher's friends and other people who knew him come together,” father Don Kiefer said of the annual event. “It's always a nice time.”

The eighth annual outing will feature a 5K, a 10K and a fun walk, offering every interested participant an opportunity to take part in the fundraising event.

“The race was started by the Southmoreland NHS the summer following Chris' passing,” Southmoreland High School principal and race committee member Daniel Krofcheck said. “Many of those kids were close with Chris, and they wanted to do something to honor his memory as a student, athlete and friend. Chris was an exemplary student that worked hard at everything. He was dedicated in the classroom, on the soccer field and on the cross country course.”

Krofcheck said that the race has been tweaked over the years, with more and more interest from the community for the annual event that takes runners and walkers all throughout the borough and surrounding areas for an enjoyable trek.

“It has grown over time,” Krofcheck said. “Initially it was held at the Southmoreland High School campus, but later moved to Scottdale in conjunction with the Picnic in the Park, and the number of participants varies.”

Fruit and beverages will be provided to all who take part in the event.

There will be eight different age groups in the events and the top three overall male and female will be awarded from the 5K and the 10K which are timed races.

The fun walk, which immediately follows the races, is just that — a relaxing and enjoyable walk for all ages and all fitness levels.

The Dash Memorial is now held with the annual Picnic in the Park event that will be taking place throughout the day at Loucks Park, featuring games, raffles, food and activities.

The day will conclude with a large fireworks display.

The money raised from the Dash will go to the scholarship fund.

“This year we awarded seven $1,500 scholarships to students from Southmoreland, and we were really pleased to do that in Christopher's memory,” Kiefer said.

Registration for the Dash will begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 17 at the big red tent in Loucks Park with the races to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Fee for the events is $25.

For information or to register, visit

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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