EATON — Approximately 135 runners and walkers joined together at Eaton High School to participate in the seventh annual “Ratt Race” 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, July 11.
The race is presented by the Pieratt Family and the Eaton Cross County Parent Organization and is held in memory of Steve Pieratt, who unexpectedly passed away in 2007. All proceeds from the event go to benefit the Steve Pieratt Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“It’s been evolving every year. We kind of change everything up. We changed the course last year,” said Steve’s son, Blake. “It’s evolved and grown into this. We have great support every year. We get donations all the time. Everybody in the community supports us and we support them. We go hand in hand together to build something for the future.”
Blake said his dad was very into athletics but he was never a runner. Instead, Steve adopted the sport and found a love for it once Blake took up cross country as a kid.
“My parents got heavily involved. Mom ran the concessions and dad did coursework. He kind of ran that operation,” said Blake. “They got heavily involved and he passed away my senior year. It was dramatic. We knew we needed to do something as a family within the community so we came up with the Ratt Race and said ‘Let’s just see where this goes.’”
Where it went was an event that draws around 110 to 180 participants every year and allows the Pieratt family to give away a $1,000 scholarship to a student at Eaton High School in Steve’s honor. They also give back to the community in other ways, such as sponsoring Little League players.
“My dad wanted to see that. He wanted to see the kids – the future. He always said that. It’s about the kids. That’s where everything is at,” said Blake.
The scholarship is awarded based on a few things, with the first and most important criteria being community involvement.
“Just show that you are giving back,” said Blake. “That’s what my dad wanted to see. He was a giver. He didn’t like taking things. He was always helping.”
Next is an involvement in athletics in some way – showing a school, work, life balance.
The final criterion is that the student has to show where they are continuing their education, but it isn’t based on GPA.
“It’s just more of a where are you going, what do you want to do, how are you going to give back,” said Blake.
The scholarship receives around 40 to 50 applicants every year and Taylor Roell was the recipient this year.
Winners from the race/walk included:
Overall male: Jason Newport (17:55)
Overall female: Megan Wright (22.29)
40 & over masters male: Eric Alcorn
40 & over masters female: Anjanette Heck
Further results can be seen at www.rattrace.org.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH