As participants began arriving early Saturday morning at North Hardin High School in Radcliff for the fourth annual Trooper Cameron Ponder Memorial 5K/10K, so did the dark clouds of a thunderstorm.
But thunder, lightning and rain didn’t deter them. Instead, the more than 100 participants waited out the storm under tents and in their cars, eager to get the race underway.
Once the rain lightened, Deborah Richards and Eva Sims, both of Elizabethtown, could be found sharing an umbrella. Sims has participated in the Trooper Cameron Ponder Memorial 5K/10K every year. Saturday was Richards’ first time.
Richards said she wanted to be part of the event to show her support.
“Anything we can do to help out the police officers,” she said.
Sims said the rain was no problem for them at all. She said they have run in rain, snow, mud and more. The two run all the time.
“You name it, we’ve run in it,” Sims said.
Richards said she thought the weather was the best for running.
“I like this weather. It is cool. It is comfortable,” she said. “You are not going to get too hot.”
Also running this year were Shirley Haslar and Norma Estanislao. Haslar said they run to support the memorial, and the troopers who dedicate their lives for others.
“We want to support them,” she said.
The race began and ended at North Hardin High School in Radcliff. Because of the weather, organizers eliminated the 10K portion of the event, combining those runners with the 5K runners.
Ponder, a 2002 graduate of North Hardin High School and a Kentucky State Police trooper from Rineyville, was shot and killed in the line of duty Sept. 13, 2015, after a traffic stop on Interstate 24 in Lyon County.
Ponder was 31 and had been a state trooper less than nine months when he died.
Within months after his death, the memorial run was organized with proceeds going toward the Trooper Cameron Ponder Memorial Scholarship Fund, which annually recognizes area students and helps them further their education.
The race has attracted hundreds of runners each year and raised thousands of dollars for the scholarship fund. Brenda Tiffany, mother of fallen Kentucky State Police Trooper Cameron Ponder, said they have been able to give about nine scholarships each year since its inception.
“This is community,” she said, noting the community has shown love for their family since day one. “They come out to support this awesome race because the dollars go right back into the community, every penny of it, and we are very blessed to be able to give out scholarships.”