MONTVILLE, NJ – Despite cool temperatures, 95 runners turned out for the third annual “Gibby’s Gallop,” a memorial 5-km/5-mile race in honor of David “Gibby” Gibson.
Proceeds from the Oct. 1 race benefit a scholarship that Morris Rugby and the Gibson family established in 2006 to honor their son, who died from injuries sustained in a car accident that occurred when he was a Montville Township High School senior. Approximately $2,000 was raised towards the scholarship, according to Valerie Gibson, David’s mother.
“David was on the swim team and played on the MTHS and Morris Rugby teams,” his sister Sarah Ries recalled. “Every day he had swim practice, and twice a day in the summer. On the weekends it was swimming and rugby.
“Everyone knew him in town,” she said. “He was a bubbly, likeable kid. At the nail salon the other day I met someone who had known him. He’s gone but his memory is so present everywhere.”
The David Gibson memorial scholarship is given to a high school senior male and female from the Morris Rugby U18 Lions teams and is based on leadership, dedication, commitment and club involvement. To date, $24,000 has been awarded, according to the Gibby website.
Family friend and David’s former teacher Kurt Kilanowski spoke before the starting horn at the race and blew the air horn to start the race.
Afterwards, he told TAPinto Montville, “Even though I have taught over 1,000 students since that time, I still have a clear memory of David. In high school, David was popular, funny, kind, and a tremendous athlete. He had it all.”
Kilanowski continued, “At the beginning of David's senior year, my wife, who was also one of David's teachers, was pregnant with our oldest daughter. From the point that David found out the good news, he would stop by the English office and take her materials to her classroom. Even on the days when she only had a few papers, David still insisted on helping her. He was so excited for us and wanted to show that excitement by helping her out. Since then, every time I see someone in need of help, I think of David's kindness and willingness to serve and I try to follow his example.
“This Thanksgiving, the Class of 2006 will be having their 10-year reunion. I am looking forward to seeing many of David's classmates and sharing in many stories. I am sure David will be the subject of all the best ones,” he said.
As David’s sister Sarah laced up her shoes to run in the race, she said, “I started running a year before David passed away, but he hated running and made fun of me. I kind of laugh every time I run because he’s in the back of my mind.”
The top runners in the 5k were Ted Mussano of Wayne with a time of 20:11.64, Mitchell Eddeh of Pompton Plains with a time of 21:01.11, and Courtney Stanton of Montville with a time of 22:17.14.
Top times in the 5 Mile were Jack Kroll of Montville with a time of 36:34.86, Marco Costa of Pine Brook at 37:59.85, and Kevin Foran of Lincroft at 40:10.99.