The rainy morning didn’t dampen runners’ spirits for the 20th anniversary final Run with Carl in Bettendorf on Labor Day.
The race originally started as a memorial for 15-year-old cross-country runner Carl Schillig, who was killed in 1994 after crossing a street and getting hit by a car. The following year, the Schillig family created the Carl D. Schillig Memorial Fund.
Through race fundraising, every year one graduating senior from Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf high school receives a $4,000 scholarship to help with college funds. The Schillig family said even though the race will discontinue, the scholarship will go on.
“We started doing this 20-years ago, not realizing we would do it for 20 years,” said Carl’s father, Richard Schillig. “It’s important for everyone to know that the Carl D. Schillig Scholarship Program will continue and maybe the Run with Carl will continue under another director another entity, but as far as our family involvement with the run with Carl, this is our final Run with Carl.”
Carl’s cross-country teammates and classmates also joined together one last time to race on Monday.
“The scholarship awards kids who are just like [who] Carl was, you know? Middle of the road students, active in the community, in their church, active in sports, and other activities,” said Jamie Lange, Carl’s classmate.
“He was a kid that had a smile on his face everyday,” said teammate and first scholarship winner, Jeff Paul. “He was somebody that could light up the room in an instant.”
The Schillig family hoped to see a turnout of at least 1,500 runners this year. However, due to the wet weather, approximately 1,300 runners participated.