Chris Lister was accustom to crossing finish lines, not watching others do so. He was a participant, not a spectator. However, Lister did watch as 240 participants crossed the Hunter Stadium 50-yard-line finish in his race on April 28, 2013.
Now in its second year, Kilometers for Chris is organized by the Recreation Program Leadership class here at LU to benefit Lister and his recovery.
On January 29, 2012, Lister was struck by a vehicle as he rounded a turn in Missouri Running Co.‘s MRC/JK 10-mile race in Maryland Heights. Though neither Lister or the driver of the vehicle were reported as at fault, Lister’s life was on the line.
Lister spent time at Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur where he was listed in critical condition for some time.
Now more than a year removed, Lister’s prognosis is improved, but still uncertain. One thing is for certain, though. The insurance money that pays for Lister’s recovery has run out according to Lister’s father, Rick Lister.
“You know, with all the different things Chris has to go through, that money really dries up fast,” Rick Lister said. “All of the money raised from this event goes straight to his recovery.”
Kilometers for Chris is a 5k race around the LU campus open to runners and walkers. Last year’s race was put together quickly, but still saw around 200 participants register. This year’s second-annual edition of the race saw a total of 240 run, while around 25 volunteers and 11 students in the class helped to make the event a success.
The race also took on sponsorship. Three levels, gold, silver and bronze, were used to designate donation amounts. A total of eight sponsors teamed up with the class, while other businesses made other forms of donation.
In total, just over $4,500 was raised from this year’s race, all of which will go directly to Chris’ recovery.
As for the race itself, Rick Lister addressed the 240 lined up at the starting line behind Roemer Hall before it began.
“Running was a big part of my son’s life, so it’s nice to see so many people out here for him,” Lister said to the crowd. “Someday, he will be running right beside all of you.”
And with that, they were off. The course winded around the old part of campus for the first mile. The second took them around the baseball field and Scheidegger. The third mile, the most grueling part of the course, brought the racers back to the old part of campus before the final stretch had them finishing in Hunter Stadium.
There waiting for them as they crossed the finish line was Lister in his wheelchair.
Much to the joy of those involved, the Listers knew the winner, Jeff Statler.
“Chris is my cousin,” Statler said. “I was in this race for him so it was pretty cool to be the first one across the line.”
Rick Lister agreed.
“Yeah, last year we didn’t know the winner,” Lister said. “To have someone Chris knows finish first this time was neat.”
Jesse and Sarah Harrison, LCIE students at LU, heard about the race through friends of the family.
“I work with a lady who is friends with the family,” Sarah Harrison said. “They just invited me to the group on Facebook and I shared it with (my husband) Jesse.”
“It’s just great to get out here and support someone in need,” Jesse Harrison said.
When asked if they would be back the following year, the couple responded in unison, “definitely.”
Joseph Lovell, Assistant Professor of the Recreational Administration Department, said in an email that plans for the 2014 race will start to take hold late next semester. He also hints that the possibility of popular race trends like themes or color could be part of next year, but it will be up to the class.
For more information on ways to aid Chris’ recovery or to stay up-to-date on next year’s race, visit the Camp Chris Facebook page.