The fifth annual Hawley Spring Run- A Race Against Suicide occurred in the rain, Sunday afternoon, June 4.

HAWLEY - The fifth annual Hawley Spring Run- A Race Against Suicide occurred in the rain, Sunday afternoon, June 4. Organizer Sheila Whitman said there were 149 participants this year. The 5K Run/Walk started and ended in Bingham Park.

Funds raised benefit the Tyler Whitman Memorial Scholarship. Enough funds were raised to distribute three scholarships of $1,000 each on Friday, June 16, at Wallenpaupack Area High School. The school Scholarship Committee selects the winners based on criteria given them. This includes an essay about suicide awareness and prevention.

The three winners of the 2017 Tyler Paul Whitman Memorial Scholarship are Brianna Denniston, Michael Quigley, and Sheila Whitman; Sheila is named for her mother, the organizer of the Hawley Spring Run.

Deacon Ed Schoener, who offered a prayer before the race began, said that many with mental illness become suicide victims, stressing that sympathy and compassion are needed for those afflicted. The stigma of mental illness, he said, is slowly lifting. Better treatment and diagnostics are needed. He told the story of his own daughter, Katie, who was also lost to suicide. Deacon Schoener is from St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton.

The 5K winners overall were Seth Brown and Samantha Killiany. Both of them are on the Wallenpaupack Area High School track team. Their times were respectfully: 19:42, and 20:31.

The top 10 finishers were: Seth Brown, Alexei Walutes, Shawn Otway, Samantha Killiany, Jay Montgomery, Christopher Quigley, Kristen Patchell Pellis, Jeff Pellis, Zane Hopkins and Michele Walutes.

Alexei Walutes, last year’s overall winner, and her mother Michele Walutes, also ran in the BK Hope Cures 5k at Woodloch that very same day in the morning.

Alexei’s times were 19:20 at Woodloch and a 19:50 at Hawley. Michele Walutes, age 52, ran a 22:12 at Woodloch followed by a 23:36 in Hawley.

“I had so many wonderful sponsors and volunteers and despite the rain the event was a success,” said Mrs. Whitman.

Anyone in crisis may call the Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative “Lifeline” at 1-800-273-8255.