10th & Final Kelly J. Fritchman 5K - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

10th & Final Kelly J. Fritchman 5K

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LEWES, Del. - An annual 5K has reached its final finish line. Local and visiting runners in Lewes got an early start to the Saturday of Fourth of July weekend by running in memory of a former University of Delaware swimmer, who passed away in 2009 from complications due to cystic fibrosis. 

Racers took their mark just before 8 a.m. and raced through the July heat and humidity to cross the 5K's finish line, but more importantly to honor the memory of Kelly J. Fritchman, who passed away in 2009 at age 32. 

"When she first passed away, I think my goal was to do the 5K so that I could be closer to her," says scholarship founder and Fritchman's mother, Laurie Learie.  "She was living down in Rehoboth with her husband, son, and daughter."

The 10th annual 5K in her name takes place at Irish Eyes in Lewes. Runners take a course that starts and ends on East Market Street. 

Kelly was competitive on the University of Delaware Swim Team during her four years of college. That's why Learie decided to use the race as a fundraiser for what is now the team's biggest named scholarship. 

"That passes on from swimmer to swimmer, so I think it's very important for us to be here and keep our memory alive," says Head Coach Pablo Marmolejo.

Emma Tinney is this year's recipient. She's a rising junior at UD. "Kelly's mom organized such a great event and race for the swim team and I'm just happy to be here and support it," she says. 

Learie explains that swimming was good for her daughter's health. "It kept the lungs breathing, it kept the lungs moving, it kept all that mucus off the lungs. She would not even look at a school unless it had a swim team," she says. 

Fittingly enough, the female winner of this year's race knows what its like to watch loved ones battle with cystic fibrosis. "Both of my cousins have CF and it's a cause near and dear to my heart," says Sarah McShane of Ashville, North Carolina. 

When the race first started, Learie's goal was to raise $150,000. She says now that the goal has been exceeded, the 10th annual Kelly J. Fritchman Memorial 5K will be the last one. The scholarship will continue perpetuity. 




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