Plenty of running clubs talk about chipping in to help young scholar-athletes with scholarship funding but the Bucks County Roadrunners Club is putting its money where its mouth is.
BCRR’s Great Strides Scholarship program has been around for a number of years, however, the club is making headlines this year by raising its award to $2,500 each to one female and one male recipient.
According to an information message on the club’s website, the scholarship “recognizes students who demonstrate how the traits of a passionate runner – sportsmanship, discipline, leadership and perseverance – can be applied to tackle challenges in their lives and meaningfully contribute to their communities and future careers.”
The Great Strides Scholarship is open to any graduating senior from a Bucks County high school who has participated in track or cross country for at least three years. The award can be used for tuition or educational costs for any postsecondary learning, including college, university or trade school.
BCRR’s Tim Bulat, who has inherited the program from John O’Brien, said the club wants to recognize outstanding achievement, both in the classroom and on the tracks, fields and roads of youth running.
“I think running helps build character in a way that will be helpful to these kids as they enter college and their careers,” Bulat said in a telephone conversation. “We want to recognize that. I think it’s a really cool thing the club does.”
Applicants should submit their applications through email to BCRRScholarship@gmail.com no later than 11:59 p.m. on February 29, 2024 to be considered.
Applications should include:
>*Essay**: A 500-word maximum composition with the applicant’s plans, goals, passions. How has running been integral in teaching lessons and developing traits which will be applicable to those ambitions. What is a specific example where you have demonstrated the application of running lessons in overcoming a challenge or showing leadership in your school or community?
>*Running plans**: What plans do you have to continue running either recreationally or competitively in college. Running proficiency is not a factor for the award, thought it is hoped the recipients have a dedication to the sport such they will continue in some way after high school.
>*Letters of recommendation**: One from a coach detailing high school participation and how that participation led to personal character growth; a second from another influential person (teacher, pastor, club leader) describing character traits to overcome challenges and make a difference in the community.
“We feel this definitely helps the next generation of Bucks County runners,” Bulat said. “We do hope in awarding these scholarships that we recognize someone who knew intends to continue running in some form. It’s not an athletic scholarship in that we’re looking to award the fastest runner.
“We want someone for whom running is an integral part of who they are.”
As a young child he was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Brown disclosed that “I have found running has helped me deal with ADHD. Many people with learning disabilities never find anything that helps them fit in and as such there are a great many people who turn to drugs to help them cope. I am fortunate that my mother was an athlete and she got me into sports at a very young age.”
Both of Brown’s parents have faced serious health challenges in recent years. He acknowledged that life is not guaranteed to us all – so “I appreciate that I am physically able to run and I’m appreciative of what running has done for me.”
Said Bulat: “We’re looking for someone who can demonstrate the things they’ve learned through running have helped them and will continue to help them deal with really any challenge. Whether that’s a personal challenge, a learning disability or a challenge in society that they’ve tried to help solve. We want to recognize that as well.”
Crooked Billet 5K, 9:30 a.m., Warminster. Contact www.runningintheusa.com
Slay Sarcoma 5K, 8 a.m., Core Creek Park, Langhorne. Contact www.runningintheusa.com
A Run for the Heart 5K, 9 a.m., Warrington. Contact www.runsignup.com.
Take A Bite Out of Cancer 5K, Chalfont. Contact www.pretzelcitysports.com