BUCKHANNON – The forecast for Saturday includes temperatures in the 70s and the opportunity to get out with friends to honor and remember a much-loved community member while participating in a 5K run/walk.
Registration for the #TuckerTough 5K Run/Walk begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13, at Jawbone Park.
The race – which honors the life of late Upshur County resident Shawn Douglas Tucker – steps off at 9 a.m.
There are currently more than 60 individuals pre-registered for #TuckerTough, and registration fees on the day of the race are $35 for those age 17 and up and $15 for those 16 and under. #TuckerTough is sponsored by the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association, and all proceeds will be donated to the Tucker family – Shawn’s wife, Adrienne, and their three children, 8-year-old Madelyn, 7-year-old Brooks and 5-year-old Molly.
TuckerTough 5K Run/Walk organizer Heather Wright said she was a friend to Tucker, who passed away earlier this year after an extended illness.
“I served on the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association Board with Shawn,” Wright said. “He was a friend as well. He was one of my kid’s soccer coaches when they started out in soccer.”
Wright said Tucker was an all-around great guy.
“He was a great dad, coach and a fantastic person,” she added. “A lot of people don’t know it, but he was behind the scenes on a lot of the soccer stuff.”
A tribute to Tucker describes him as “the visionary who initiated the idea and gathered community support for Upshur County Recreation Complex.”
“He created the organization, built the framework and actively oversaw its management while serving as the president of the Board of Directors,” it reads. “He championed the idea of having all of the various sports leagues work together for a common goal. He was a believer in youth sports and the benefits they provide not only for kids, but the community as well.”
“The idea for the event came about after we new he was sick,” Wright said. “We wanted to do something for him and for his family. One night my husband said we should do something like a run. It’s something athletic, and the whole community can get behind it and involved in the event. I don’t believe a lot of the people in the community realized just how much Shawn did for the league, for our kids and for our community.”
One thing is for sure: The organizers of #TuckerTough wanted to make sure the event is a memorable and respectful way to support Adrienne Tucker, and the Tuckers’ three children, Madelyn May, Brooks Douglas and Molly Marie.
“We, the community and soccer family, can show our gratitude to his family,” Wright said. “Buckhannon is a great little town, and a lot of families get behind and help out those who are in need.”
The day of the race, April 13, is of great significance to the race.
“When we were going through organizing and planning the date, we picked out the date April 13 because it just seemed to work for everybody,” Wright said. “Then when we were making up the fliers, and after Shawn passed away, we realized April 13 was the day he was taken off the soccer field, taken to the hospital and diagnosed.
“So, this will mark the one-year anniversary – hopefully we can help Adrienne and the kids make this a day not of sadness, but a day of healing – and I hope it will bring a little bit of light to the day.”
Kevin Nicholson, president of UCYSA, said Shawn was a great guy.
“He had been involved with soccer for about five years,” Nicholson said. “He served as the secretary and treasurer of the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association. He was instrumental in getting a lot of things organized for soccer including getting our [nonprofit] tax status. He coached three different teams and had kids in three different age groups.”
Nicholson said Shawn never played soccer while he was growing up but got into the sport because his children wanted to play soccer.
“He was really my right-hand man – he took care of so many things, and we planned out and made sure everything got done,” Nicholson said.
While the #TuckerTough 5K Run/Walk this Saturday is the debut for the event, Nicholson said the walk/run is meant to serve as a continuation and a celebration of everything Shawn did.
“We intend to make this an annual event,” Nicholson said. “Shawn was a big teddy bear, he was 6-foot, 2-inches, and he loved to be out on the field playing soccer with the kids. He actually worked with me on the U4 soccer team which is a bunch of 3-year-olds.
“Try to get a bunch of 3-year-olds to do something. But he always made it fun. He always told me he didn’t know much about soccer, but he always enjoyed working with the kids.”
Nicholson said the goal for this first year of the #TuckerTough 5K Run/Walk is for everyone to get together to have fun.
“We have kids that are doing the race, kids with their parents – we want people to have fun and live the #TuckerTough motto,” he said. “We used #TuckerTough as the name for the race because that was the symbol selected in Shawn’s battle against cancer.”
Unfortunately, Shawn passed away this year on Feb. 24. He was a graduate of Fairmont State University and was a professional engineer employed by Chapman Technical Group since 2003. He worked in Buckhannon, where he was the general manager of Chapman’s Buckhannon office and served as the principal airport design and construction project manager.
Sponsors for #TuckerTough include Nine Energy Services, Bennett Surveying, Stone Tower Brews, TLM Management LLC., Pre-Played Media, Lewis County Soccer, Nicholas County Soccer, the McDougal Family, the Wallace Family, Jordan and Brittany Westfall, Jesterline Gaming Technologies, Rowan Custom Creations, Hickory Flat Addition “Hood,” the Clothes Spin Laundromat, Brushy Fork Mart, Book Club 2014-2017, Chapman Technical and Suttle’s Oil Field Services.
Additional information about the #TuckerTough 5K Run/Walk is available online at wvsa-ucys.sportsaffinity.com.