For more than a few of the 140 who gathered in the cool of the morning on April 27, the Fifth Annual Dash 4 Drex was a way to get their Saturday off to a running start.
For St. Ambrose University Director of Campus Recreation Andy Milton and several others, though, it was personal.
Milton and friends and family of Derrek Drexler gathered as they had the previous four springs - in honor and remembrance of a gregarious and active Ambrosian who passed away in 2009 as a result of a rare viral infection. At the time, Drexler was a junior, majoring in accounting and finance under a full academic scholarship.
"Derek was a good friend," Milton said of a young man who rose quickly from a work-study student in campus recreation to student coordinator. "This is a way we can honor him."
Drexler was active in intramurals and campus activities at St. Ambrose after he enrolled following his graduation from Wahlert Catholic High School, Dubuque, Iowa, in 2006.
He earned Dean's List and Phi Eta Sigma and Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society recognition. He also served on the Campus Activities Board, the Student Advisory Council and the Accounting Club.
The annual Dash for Drex run/walk raises money for an accounting scholarship endowed by the Drexler family. Milton said that, for him, keeping the "Dash" up and running is more about keeping the young man's memory alive.
"I'm doing it to honor and remember him," he said.