Vineyard runners honor memory of Kevin Johnson

Annual post-Thanksgiving 5K for KJ raises money for scholarship.

Jeremy Alley-Tarter (center) led the pack from the start in 2013. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The 12th annual 5K for KJ was held on Saturday, giving many Vineyard runners a chance to work off their Thanksgiving dinners and turkey leftovers. The race, which was established to honor former cross country runner Kevin Johnson who lost his life in a car accident, provides a $1,000 scholarship for two cross country runners.

Lee Greathouse of Oak Bluffs took first place with a time of 16:25, crossing the finish line nearly 40 seconds before West Tisbury runner Michael Schroeder (17:04). Jeremy Alley-Tarter followed up in third with a time of 17:24.

Following close behind in fourth and fifth place, respectively, were Rene Dasilva of Vineyard Haven (17:34) and Patrick Smadbeck (17:47). Tara Nitardy of Vineyard Haven finished first in the women’s category with a time of 20:19.

“Considering the weather conditions, we were very happy with this years event,” said event organizer and MVRHS cross country and indoor track coach Joe Schroeder. “The weather conditions were great for running, but you don’t get many walk ups when it’s raining out. We really appreciate the people that come out each year. There’s a core group of people who come out each year who are either related to Kevin Johnson or were in the same class, his friends or his neighbors. That core group is really special to this event and their presence makes it even more of a family event.”