UPIKE’s Bear the 99 5K raises funds for scholarships

On Saturday, March 6, The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) hosted the City of Pikeville’s first in-person 5K since events were halted in 2020 due to COVID-19. The race began at 9 a.m. on campus at Benefactors Plaza and ended with the climb up UPIKE’s iconic 99 steps to the finish line.

Approximately 80 people, ages 9 to 75, participated in the family-friendly event, with all City of Pikeville and Healthy at UPIKE COVID-19 guidelines being closely followed. Pike County Health Department Public Health Director Tammy Riley won first place in her age division and was pleased with the university’s efforts in keeping the public safe, while also having fun.

“It was my honor to participate in the 2021 University of Pikeville Alumni Association’s Bear the 99 5K event,” said Riley. “From a runner’s perspective, it was exhilarating to be able to participate in a live race with fellow runners. From a public health perspective, I was even more pleased with the attention to detail that the Alumni Association paid to public health protocols for the safety of all. It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to many more years of participating in this event, which supports scholarships for the University of Pikeville.”

Once again, more than $18,000 was raised, with all proceeds going toward the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund. UPIKE Alumni Board President Kay Hammond, who also won first place in her age division, is proud to have the opportunity to help students with the support of the community.

“With sponsor and community support, we are able to offer scholarships that help to change the lives of the students who receive them,” said Hammond. “The UPIKE Alumni Association would like to thank everyone who helped make our 2021 Bear the 99 5K a big success.” 

All participants received a finisher medal, T-shirt and mask. Awards were given in seven age divisions ranging from 14 and under to 60 and older. The top male and female overall winners were Sara Briscoe and Brayden Sayers.

Race organizer and Director of Alumni Relations Lisa Blackburn is thankful for the student volunteers who spent their Saturday working water stations and cheering on runners, and grateful to the City of Pikeville, its fire and police departments, and the Pike County Health Department for allowing UPIKE to host this race and for their help with ensuring the safety of the community. She says the next Bear the 99 5K will be held in the fall of 2021.

For an updated list of 2021 alumni events, email alumni@upike.edu or call (606) 218-5276.