Larry Ellis, grandfather of former Cape Fear star Cole Humphrey, tells the story that when he was in the seventh grade, Cole lacked the physical gifts of some of his classmates and doubted his athletic skills.
So Ellis gave him a shirt with the Superman logo and told his grandson he had the determination and work ethic of the Man of Steel.
As a teenager, Cole became an all-conference athlete in football and baseball, as well as a solid student who was also active in the work of his church.
Tragically, his life was cut short just five years ago this month when he died in a car accident over spring break.
But the memory of Cole Humphrey and his contributions to the school continue through the Cole Humphrey Foundation and the annual Cole Humphrey Run.
The run, which is scheduled for May 12 at Cape Fear High School, is the primary fundraiser for the foundation, in addition to direct gifts people give in Humphrey’s memory.
Although Humphrey and the students he attended school with have long since departed Cape Fear, principal Lee Spruill said Humphrey’s memory is still alive on the campus. “We have his jerseys up in locker rooms,’’ Spruill said. “We remind kids of the legacy he left behind when he left Cape Fear. It’s maintained with what the family does supporting the school with the run and the foundation.
“You are never going to forget a Cole Humphrey. He’s just a phenomenal kid.’’
Money raised through the foundation and the annual run have been put back into the Cape Fear athletic program, mainly in the sports of baseball and football, to provide numerous items beneficial to both programs.
The run begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, and will feature competition in 10K, 5K and 2.5K timed events. Atlantic Coast Timing Systems works with the run to provide certified times for all those who compete. Awards are presented to the male and female winners in the 10K and 5K divisions, and for the age 8 and under top finishers in the 2.5K.
“It’s just a great event and fun to see all these kids running,’’ Spruill said. “My son has never been a runner and he ran in it last year and won his division.
“A lot of great things have come from the run. It’s neat seeing people that were at the school four, five or six years ago. It’s like a mini-reunion.’’
For complete information on the run, go to the website at colehumphreyrun.com where you’ll find a link to sign up for this year’s run.
For those who don’t have access to a computer, you can call for further information at 910-303-9928.
Photo: Cole Humphrey