Big race turnout helps fundraisers meet their goal

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PARK CITY -- Organizers of a 5K race Saturday expected a big turnout, but they didn't expect it to be as big as it was. The race was held to raise money for a memorial honoring five Park City teens who all died within a seven-month period, sending a school and five families into mourning.

More than 1,000 people turned out more than happy to support than cause. "I understand we don't have T-shirts for everyone right now," saud Mark Pennel's father, Mike Pennels.

Every step they took is a step closer to a memorial for the Park City 5 -- five recent high school graduates killed in a seven-month period.

"It's a bittersweet day, but we are thrilled," said Kaye Knoop, Matt Knoop's mother. "I can see him smiling and winking and loving this, absolutely loving this."

Kelly Yeats, Chris Yeates' mother, said, "He would be way excited about this."

Their mothers came up with the idea to build a school in their honor in a remote part of Ecuador, where kids have few educational opportunities. Saturday's event pushed them past their fundraising goal.

At the race, friends wrote personal messages on huge banners of Connie Blount, Matt Knoop, Chris Yeates, Erica Knell and Mike Pennels. Those banners later lined the track.

"I would not want to live anywhere else on earth without these people around me," Kelly said.

A group of more than 40, including the five mothers, will be traveling to Ecuador in July to work side by side with the locals during the school's construction. For them, the project isn't a race but a marathon, and a promise to the kids they've lost.

"We never want to forget you and we love you," Mark said.

There is also another event, a golf tournament, coming up on June 8.



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