On Saturday, Feb. 15, the second annual Chris Hixon Memorial 5K Run/Walk was held at Charnow Park located in Hollywood, Florida. This event was coordinated by Debbi Hixon, wife of Chris Hixon: the athletic director, coach and campus monitor who lost his life at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, while trying to protect others.
The 5K run/walk began at 7 a.m. and approximately 625 individuals participated, which included members of local communities like South Broward High School, Blanche Ely High School, Parkland, Coral Springs, and other parts of the state and country.
While some participants chose to take part in the 5K at Charnow Park, others decided to participate in the 5K virtual run, which allowed flexibility for people around the country to participate and support the fund’s cause from wherever they were. Some of the 5K virtual runners were from as far as Oregon and California. Additionally, 5K virtual runners were encouraged to send photos of participants finishing the race, and some even posted to their social media with the hashtag #chrishixon5K. The cost for either event was $30.
The event also consisted of a kids’ fun run, which cost $15 and was available for children ages 7 and over. The kids’ fun run was about a quarter-mile, and everyone received a medal when they reached the finish line.
Before the race began, the national anthem was sung and a moment of silence was held for Hixon and the other sixteen victims who lost their lives on Feb. 14, 2018.
“I did this [run/walk] last year, and I’ve been really trying to get into 5Ks, and this is my first one,“ sophomore Christopher Trokey said. “I decided to do this one because it is in remembrance of Chris Hixon.”
After 20 minutes and 17.4 seconds, Olympic Heights High School freshman Jacob Weiner finished the race in first place, followed by 57-year-old Doug Lindahl from Hollywood, Florida and 28-year-old John Childs from Pompano Beach, Florida.
“This [run] was for a great cause,” Weiner said. “I felt amazing, I had always dreamed of [getting first place].”
Once the participants finished the race, they were given a medal as well as refreshments, which were provided by Grampa’s Bakery & Restaurant in Dania Beach, Florida. Everyone was also given a t-shirt that included the three mascots of MSD, South Broward High School and Blanche Ely High School.
The shirts read “Chris Hixon Memorial Run” and included the logos of the run’s sponsors.
All proceeds raised at the run/walk will be used to support the Chris Hixon Athletic Scholarship Fund, which was created to continue the legacy of Chris Hixon by helping to further the education of student-athletes at Blanche Ely High School, South Broward High School and MSD, all of the schools in which Hixon worked at throughout his 20+ years in Broward County.
Chris Hixon frequently participated in 5K’s with his youngest son, Corey Hixon.
“Chris and Corey would do 5Ks, they would walk them a lot, but Chris really wanted Corey to run at the next one, which was for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in March of 2018, but they never got the chance to do that,” Debbi Hixon said. “We thought this would be a really good way to raise money for [the Chris Hixon Athletic Scholarship Fund] because it was something that our family always did together.”
The Chris Hixon Athletic Scholarship Fund raised approximately $19,000 from registrations, donations and sponsorships and will be hosting the third annual Chris Hixon Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Feb. 20, 2021.
This story was originally published in the March 2020 Eagle Eye print edition.