Nick's Race

Kris Newton, Newton Rotary

For the past 15 years, members of our community have gathered at Sam Parr State Park in remembrance of Nick Volk. In May, 2002, Nick and five friends left Newton in a van headed to Effingham. The high school friends never had the opportunity to make it to their final destination as one half mile west of Newton the van collided with a semitrailer on Illinois 33. Three of the passengers died at the scene, while Nick and the other two passengers were transported to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. After learning that Nick's injuries from the accident were fatal, his family had to make some final decisions on Nick's behalf, including organ donation. This decision was made easier for his family because Nick had previously expressed his desire to become a donor. Nick saw no reason not to donate.

Nick’s Race is an opportunity for a tragedy to bring to light the need and awareness about organ donation. Nick's Race is held in partnership with the Newton Rotary Club annually on the Saturday following Father's Day. The 16th Annual Nick's Race will be held on June 23, 2018 and registration is currently open at

The race, held at Sam Parr State Park, is on the very same course Nick ran as a member of the NCHS Cross Country team each fall. The scenic course is 2.85 miles long with a quick half mile start on asphalt followed by trails over the hills, through the woods and on the grassy area around the lake. A non-competitive walk is also available on a two mile section of the runner’s course.

Several groups benefit from the race’s proceeds including the organ donation program Gift of Hope, programs at Jasper County Schools and scholarships which are based upon the applicant’s character instead of grades. At the event, the NCHS Drumline performs for those in attendance in memory of Nick as he was once a member of the Marching Eagles drumline.

The run is timed by Kinetic Timing. An overall award will be given to the fastest male and female runners. Awards will also be given to the top three men and women in the following age divisions 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and up.

If registration for the race is received by June 18th, 2018 the cost is $20. If after that day, $25. The first 100 registered participants receive a free race t-shirt. Entries are accepted race day and fees are non-refundable. Online registration is available at For questions, please contact

The race timeline is as follows: 7:15 a.m. Registration and Packet Pick up begins. 8:30 a.m. run begins. 8:40 a.m. walk begins. 9:00 NCHS Drumline Performance, 9:20 a.m. Race Results and Awards Ceremony. 9:45 a.m. Transplant Donor/Recipient Stories and Donor/Recipient Family Recognition. 10:15 a.m. Raffle Results. 10:30 Closing Comments.