PROVO — For years, BYU student-athlete welfare coordinator Paul Tidwell, a former BYU football assistant coach, was envisioning a way that he could bring people together while benefiting the community.
That vision is being realized this spring as BYU’s athletic department honors legendary coach LaVell Edwards and highlights heart health awareness with a 5K fun run.
The event — called the LaVell Edwards Memorial Heart & Sole 5K — will be held at 8 a.m. May 11 at the Clarence F. Robison Track and Field Complex.
Tidwell visited Nebraska a few years ago and learned about a fun run that attracts thousands of Cornhusker fans and raises money for cancer research.
Tidwell explored ways to do something similar at BYU. With the help of student-athletes and the school’s administration, it became a reality.
Along the way, it was decided that this event should honor Edwards, one of the winningest coaches in college football history, who passed away in December 2016.
“A lot of people don’t realize that LaVell actually passed away from heart disease,” Tidwell said.
Edwards’ wife, Patti, supports the effort.
“She thought it was a great way to honor LaVell,” Tidwell said. “She was very appreciative.”
After saying a few words, Patti Edwards will pull the rope on the cannon to start the 5K.
“You can run or walk,” Tidwell said. “You can go as fast or as slow as you want. All participants will get a T-shirt and a swag bag. We have up to 300 medals for children.”
BYU football coach Kalani Sitake as well as student-athletes from various BYU teams will be in attendance. Other activities include a heart health fair by Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital and an obstacle course for children ages 3-12.
“We’ll combine with Intermountain Health, which will set up their heart health fair, which is free. People can get their cholesterol tested, their blood pressure tested. There will be a healthy cooking station. There will be food trucks. We’ll have student-athletes signing posters and autographs, taking pictures with fans,” Tidwell said. “We’ll have pretty much every sport represented and there will be something kids can do that will be operated by our current players.21 comments on this story
“We’re going to have prizes. We’ll have a drawing for a signed helmet. We’ll get some of the top football players and Kalani to sign the helmet. We’ll give away a signed football and a signed jersey. The male and female first-place winners will get two tickets each to the home-opener against Utah as well as other things. The top finishers will get medals in their different age groups.”
While the event is not a fundraiser, registration proceeds go to paying for the event. To register, go to runnercard.com.
“We hope it will be a yearly thing and it will grow big and bring out the community and former players,” Tidwell said. “It will be a fun family event.”