DEARBORN — Hundreds of fourth- through eighth-grade students will lace up their running shoes and take to the course at Ford Woods Park for the inaugural Robert Cipriano Memorial Cross Country Meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 19.
“The goal was to create an event that will honor the work that Bob did here in Dearborn, help his family, and benefit a large number of Dearborn students,” Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Brian Whiston said.
DPS students have spent the first weeks of school getting in shape and qualifying for the event. Teams from each elementary and middle school will compete in four different races arranged by age group and gender.
The district has teamed up with the Dearborn Education Foundation, the Dearborn Track Club and the city of Dearborn to help coordinate the event. All runners will receive a ribbon for taking part, medals will be awarded to the top 10 runners in each age group, and a trophy will be presented to the top elementary and middle school team.
One of Cipriano’s last projects while working with the athletic directors was to create a running program for middle school and possibly elementary students that would encourage competition, lifelong fitness and fun. The cross country meet aims to do that.
In addition, the district has created the Robert Cipriano Memorial Scholarship. The $500 scholarship will be awarded to one senior from each high school who has participated in either track, cross country or baseball. Other details for qualifying for the scholarship will be announced at the opening ceremony of the cross country event.
Cipriano was an avid runner and, according to some of the children he coached, including his son Tanner, running was one of his top training tools and the key to success no matter what the sport. The district believes that this event will carry on Cipriano’s work with athletics, his commitment to the children in Dearborn, and pay tribute to his love of running.
Cipriano was director of Business Services for the DPS and also oversaw athletics in the district. He was killed in April when two men broke into his Farmington Hills home and attacked him, his wife, and son. His 19-year-old adopted son and a 20-year-old man are accused in the attack.
Cipriano’s wife and son are still recovering from the injuries they suffered in the attack. His daughter and Tanner avoided any physical injuries during the attack.