GREAT FALLS — The annual "My Best Day 5K and Kids Dash" was held in Great Falls on Sunday. The event is a fundraiser for the Jake Arntson Memorial Fund.
All money raised will go to the Jake Arntson Memorial Fund through the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation, which will fund the Jake Arntson Teammate of the Year Scholarships.
A record number of runners participated in Sunday's event.
Over the past four years, the My Best Day 5K has grown within the Great Falls community from a day that not only honors the life of a boy whose time ended too soon, to one that celebrates local athletes who display his same spirit of sportsmanship.
Event organizer Jason Bliss says Jake not only made each day his best, but encouraged others to follow suit.
“He was the consummate teammate. he was always encouraging his teammates if they were having a bad day or a good day, good game or a bad game,” Bliss said.
That's why event organizers chose to reward athletes whose talents extend beyond the field.
“The scholarship isn't about the best athlete. it isn't about the best student. it really is about the best teammate,” Bliss said.
Great Falls has so many exceptional teammates that by this spring, more than $24,000 in scholarships will have been awarded.
“It has just become an incredibly successful race to where we're now giving scholarships to both c-m-r and great falls high,” Bliss said.
This year, former scholarship recipient and CMR High school student Annabella Aline returned to race.
“We just started hearing about the run when the scholarship came up. so my parents have done it ever since. and now this year I get to do it. So im super excited about that,” Aline said.
The track and cross country runner embodied Jake's athletic attitude.
“I think my coaches thought that I was a good leader on the team and just really inclusive of everyone and super passionate about everything that I did,” Aline said.
This year, six high-schoolers will follow in her footsteps, encouraging their teammates to make each day the best one yet.
This year's six exceptional teammates will receive their scholarships in May 2020.
In order to be eligible, students must be nominated by their coach and a teammate as well as write an essay on what it means to be an excellent teammate.