Bill Pollom Memorial 5K celebrates fourth year

A Father’s Day Weekend tradition continues this year.

The Bill Pollom Memorial 5K will be Saturday at Millennium Park, its fourth year running. The event benefits Freear’s Hope Foundation and the Danville Schools Education Foundation.

Through three years, the event has raised almost $20,000, according to event worker Terry Crowley.

“Bill was a tremendous community asset, he was involved in all kinds of great things,” Crowley said. “But he was a runner. He ran past my house, he didn’t just run, he ran. He had a pace that most joggers just don’t have. He had just a tremendous wit and was a great guy who did a lot for the community. His background as a great family man and runner was a natural fit for this race. It’s a group of friends who decided this is a good way to remember Bill, and Father’s day is a perfect time to do it.”

Ken Medaris, another event supporter and friend of Pollom, said Pollom was an “avid runner and a champion father.”

“He ran every day, rain or shine, from his home near the Danville Country Club to Millennium Park,” Medaris said. “He saw the responsibilities of fatherhood as his most important mission and he raised three wonderful, productive, contributing citizens.”

Pollom passed away in 2015 after a four-year battle with brain cancer. The Freear’s Hope Foundation helps cancer patients and their families.

“He was big on education and effort. He was a fierce competitor and fought his cancer relentlessly,” Medaris said. “He had numerous surgeries, treatments and went everywhere possible searching for a cure. He did not go down without a fight.

“This was the same cancer Ted Kennedy and Seve Ballesteros had. I told him he made it longer than they did. Small victory. If your child grows up to be as fine a person as Bill Pollom you have done well.”

Crowley said Pollom was the kind of person you “wanted to run into” each day.

“You had a better day if you managed to bump into Bill,” Crowley said. “He always had a smile and a good thing to say, asked about and cared about everyone’s family and kids. He worked at Farmers National Bank, it was a perfect fit for Farmer’s and Bill both, he worked downtown. He was just someone who couldn’t say no to a good cause, and we need more folks like that. As far as being a friend, it’s hard to keep up with Bill on some of those things because he’s always involved in something, but never to the detriment of his family.”

It’s that type of memory that event organizers want to honor each year with the Bill Pollom 5K.

“We just want to get a lot of folks out, it’s for runners and walkers,” Crowley said. “We’ve got lots of folks with kids in strollers that walk the course. It’s out at Millennium Park, it’s a beautiful, easy walk. But we would love a big turnout to remember Bill and raise money for these charities. It’s been a good turnout in the first three years and we want to keep it going and growing.”