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41 Hope 5k Blake LaForce Memorial

Sat September 10, 2022 Vandalia, OH 45377 US Directions

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


Vandalia Butler High School
600 S. Dixie Dr
Vandalia, OH US 45377


The 41 HOPE 5K raises money for the Blake LaForce #41 Memorial Fund, an endowment fund of the Vandalia-Butler and Dayton Foundations. The #41 Fund provides two annual college scholarships, one for a boy and one for a girl student athlete, as well for enhancing the student athlete’s experience, at Vandalia-Butler High School. A portion of the proceeds also benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Tri-State Chapter.

Blake Christian LaForce, a 2009 student athlete and graduate of Butler High School, fought and beat cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), with a bone marrow transplant. Then a surprise central nervous system parasitic infection challenged Blake, who miraculously fought on, only later to succumb to insurmountable number of complications. Blake was the son of Mark and Linda LaForce and the brother of Lauren (LaForce) Woods and Johnathan LaForce. Blake was a “home-grown boy” attending Murlin Heights, Smith Middle, and Butler High Schools. He was a good student (receiving an invitation to National Honor Society) who enjoyed and excelled in athletics outside the classroom.

Blake loved football and was a “student of the game,” as the game came natural to him. He was a fierce competitor, exceptional athlete and team player and was tenacious about success and winning. His “athletic career” began in elementary school when he played pee wee football. Although he participated in other sports by the time he reached high school, Blake concentrated on football, wrestling and track and field; receiving varsity letters in all of these sports early on. He was a power weight lifting champion. Receiving the “Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award” was and exciting moment for the young Blake LaForce.

Blake’s victory over cancer and valiant battle against the devastating central nervous system infection was fought  with belief and a positive attitude, which has become an inspiration to many young athletes in the Vandalia-Butler community and beyond. Blake demonstrated his quiet confidence and strength and hit this adversity and life threatening challenge head on, as if it were just another opponent to tackle, or run through. Blake will always be an inspiration, in the Vandalia-Butler community of athletes, because he led by example. Blake’s football jersey #41, retired in the fall of 2009, hangs in the lobby of the Student Activity Center at BHS honoring his legacy. The #41 also was retired by the Pee Wee Aviators, starting their 41st year. The jersey, along with a picture of Blake and his father coach Mark, hangs in the concession stand at Smith Middle School Field as an inspiration. The Blake LaForce Memorial ‘TUFF’ Award is presented annually to a football player who demonstrates those “winning qualities”: character, leadership, toughness, hard work, determination, tenacity, and courage. This award is displayed in the SAC lobby next to Blake’s retired #41 jersey. In commemoration of Blake’s journey and purpose, Blake’s father Mark authored the book Because of Blake in 2010.

PLEASE NOTE:  The online registration deadline, to receive a shirt, at the 5k, is 11:59 AM, September 5. Registering online, or in person, after this deadline, will not receive a shirt at the 5k"Online Registration" for this event will remain open through the race start and there will be race day registration available race morning and the race will be promoted in Blake's honor at the Vandalia Butler Football game the night before the race!

Prizes will be awarded to the top runner in each division, plus top overall man and woman runner.

11 & under | 12-14 | 15-18 | 19-24 | 25-29 | 30-34 | 35-39 
40-44 | 45-49 | 50-54 | 55-59 | 60-64 | 65- 69 | 70 & over

11 & under | 12-14 | 15-18 | 19-24 | 25-29 | 30-34 | 35-39 
40-44 | 45-49 | 50-54 | 55-59 | 60-64 | 65- 69 | 70 & over

Prizes will be awarded to the top man and woman walker.

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