2009 Christopher Todd Richardson Memorial 10K

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“Freedom to Be” was my brother Todd’s motto since he was a little boy in the 4-H club at Cedar Bluff Elementary. I feel that the phrase that he had plastered on the side of his desk in his childhood bedroom simply meant that everyone should be free to be themselves, realize their dreams and full potential. Todd’s life truly was a reflection of this because he had an extremely strong work ethic and was always very goal oriented and gave 110% to accomplish whatever he set out to do.

Todd was an employee of Frontier Kemper Constructors for 15 years. With his stellar work ethic and zeal for mining construction, he quickly rose through the ranks of management to his final position of Mine Operations Manager at the company headquarters in Evansville, Indiana.

After Todd’s accident, my family decided to start a scholarship fund in order to help students from Southwest Virginia. Since I was an avid runner, I suggested that we hold a 10K race on the Virginia Creeper Trail as the scholarship’s primary annual fundraiser. I feel that this is my small way to make a tribute to the wonderful, vivacious life my brother led. Frontier Kemper also shared in the vision that my family had to select a student “like Todd” who was aware that through hard work, determination and focus that one’s dreams and aspirations can be realized. Frontier has been very active in participation and supporting both the scholarship and the 10k.

The Christopher Todd Richardson Memorial Scholarship is geared toward students (either rising seniors or college freshmen) who are majoring in: geology, geography, environmental science, mining engineering or some other energy related field. This scholarship is a four-year renewable scholarship of a thousand dollars per year. The requirements are a cumulative 3.0GPA upon application, a 250-word essay about the student, their goals and aspirations, 2 letters of recommendation, and high school transcript. All applications are due April 1st of each year. The board of directors for the scholarship meets the second week of April to select the new recipient for that year, and to renew past recipients that have maintained a 3.0 GPA.

Southwest Virginia Community College has applications for the scholarship in the financial aid office, and area high schools in Tazewell, Buchanan, and Russell, Washington counties will have applications in guidance offices after January 5th. If anyone would like additional information about the scholarship or the CTR 10K, one can call Jenny Nichols at 276-619-1489.

The Christopher Todd Richardson Memorial 10K had its inaugural year in 2008. The race is held on the Virginia Creeper Trail starting at the picnic area close to the Abingdon trailhead. The USATF-certified course (TN02001RH) is essentially an out-and-back with the turnaround at 3 miles and finishing adjacent to the Creeper Trail restrooms. The course elevation is classified as medium rolling – it is downhill on the way out so the return trip is inevitably a little slower – allow about 15 – 30 seconds additional per mile with the same exertion effort. The trail is dirt but the footing is generally good all the way. The Creeper Trail has significant tree cover; only short sections of the trail are exposed. So, even though this is a mid-summer race, the early morning temperature on the trail is mostly reasonable (mid 70’s). Unique awards are presented to the top 3 overall, masters, grandmasters and age groups winners.

Jenny Nichols, Race Director, August 16, 2009