Johnny Keel was an inspiration to many during the years he battled cancer, and it was how he lived his life despite adversity that left a lasting impression on others. His friends remember him as the type of guy to “never give up,” especially as he fought colon cancer while continue to find joy every day during most of the final 10 years of his life.
This example led friends and family to search for an appropriate memorial after Keel died Thanksgiving Day 2010. What they came up with was the creation of the Johnny Keel Wellness Foundation, which distributes grants to promote wellness and stop illness before it starts. In conjunction, Go Johnny Go, a 5K, 10K run/walk fundraiser was first held in 2011.
This year marks the fourth annual Go Johnny Go Run/Walk, which will be May 17, starting from Sports Village at 1735 W. Main St. in Lebanon.
Chip timing is available, and a free T-shirt will be given to every runner or walker registered by May 10.
A family event, Go Johnny Go also offers a one-mile fun run for children 5-12 and a short run – once around the track at Sports Village – for children 3-4. All children who participate will receive a medallion. A post-race festival, including music, children’s slides and games, and wellness health fair, will be held.
Registration for Go Johnny Go is $25 for the 5K/10K run walk. Children’s registrations for the fun run are $10 each. Visit gojohnnygorun.com and download a registration form, or click the link to register online at active.com. Registration forms are also available at the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce or at Sports Village.
In 2013, Go Johnny Go, through the Johnny Keel Wellness Foundation, provided funding to physical education programs through a grant process. Recipients included Elzie D. Patton Elementary School, Watertown Elementary School, Wilson Central High School and Lebanon High School.
Keel, a Lebanon businessman, is co-owner of Sports Village, which holds the annual “Lean In Lebanon” campaign to encourage individuals to get involved in physical activity for health and wellness. Participants in Lean in Lebanon are asked to make the commitment to participate in the 5K/10K walk run to continue their physical activity and continue their commitment to fitness.
For more information on Go Johnny Go, visit the website or call 615-444-5503.