Tragically, Katy Hoffman won't run in the fourth annual Cross County Cup this Saturday in Carson City.
The 18-year-old died from injuries sustained in an automobile rollover last Wednesday, but she will still be remembered when the gun goes off because the event has been dedicated in her memory by members of the youth running club to which she belonged.
"We'll miss her greatly," said Penny Sparks, head coach of the Carson City Christian Running Club Godspeed Wings (formerly known as the Carson City Striders). "The kids always say, 'We're not a club, we're family.' Losing her is like losing one of our family. That's why we're dedicating the race to her."
Hoffman, who would have been a senior at Carson High School this coming year, began running with the Sparks-coached Striders as an 8th grader. She ran cross country as a sophomore and junior at Carson High before spending last year as an exchange student in Chile.
"She had just gotten back from Chile and we were looking forward to having her back running with us," Sparks said. "She was definitely going to be one of our team leaders. She was very quiet, but her strength was very obvious. She led with her hard work and good attitude."
Amy Martin, who will run in the Cross Country Cup on Saturday, shared many experiences with Hoffman.
"We were always running together," said Martin, who graduated from Carson High in June and will be a freshman at the University of Nevada this coming year. "I remember I could call her at any time and ask her if she wanted to run and she would go with me. From 5:30 in the morning to 8 o'clock at night, it didn't matter."
Martin remembers Hoffman as a strong personality.
"What really struck me about Katy, she wasn't afraid to stand up and question things she didn't understand," Martin said. "She wouldn't just follow something because she was told that. She was going to make sure it was the right thing to do.
"She was completely dedicated to any aspect of her life. She was 100 percent at everything. It was the same with her running - she was really tough."
That toughness was evident in one memory Martin has from the Godspeed Wings summer camp two years ago at Twin Lakes (located near Bridgeport, Calif.).
"The first year we went up to running camp, she ran up to Barney Lake. It looked like she was coming down with a cold, but she still ran the whole way - and that's an eight-mile hill run," Martin said. "Later, she found she had mononucleosis."
Hoffman brought out the best in her teammates. And her coaches, as well.
"She would challenge you as a coach because she would always ask questions," Sparks said. "As a coach, you always wanted to be able to answer her questions. You wanted to be a better coach, for her sake."
Saturday's 5- and 10-kilometer cross country runs and 2-mile walk are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Western Nevada Community College. For more information, call Dennis or Jane Brinson in Carson City at 775-883-8477.