Granddaughter of RBR founder running for family’s legacy

Julianna Brown talks about her grandfather's legacy as one of the founders of the Fifth Third River Bank Run. (May 11, 2016)


HUNTLEY, Ill. (WOOD) — The granddaughter of one of the men who helped make the Fifth Third River Bank Run a reality will be running in the 10K race on Saturday.

Julianna Brown is the granddaughter of Frank Cashman, who along with Marty Allen started the River Bank Run in 1978.

Brown, a junior in high school, spoke with 24 Hour News 8 just after running the 3200 meter race at a high school track meet in Huntley, Illinois, located halfway between Chicago and Rockford, Illinois.

“My mom came from a running family, she was a really good runner and she liked it so I figured why not and I started and I ended up really liking it too,” Brown said.

Courtesy photo of Frank Cashman running in 1979.
Courtesy photo of Frank Cashman running in 1979.

Brown’s grandfather Frank Cashman joined forces with Allen in the mid-’70s to start the River Bank Run. In 1978, just over 1,000 runners took to the streets on the second Saturday of May for the first annual River Bank Run.

“He wanted it to be a community event and bring people together, have something they could all do together — something fun like a run,” said Brown.

This Saturday more than 18,000 people will be running in the River Bank Run, including Brown.

“There is a lot of sentimental value to it, especially since this one will be the first one without him. It means a lot to all of us I think. He left that behind and it’s still here and it’s bigger than anyone could have imagined.”

Brown lost her grandpa last summer. He was always involved in her running career, she says they talked after every meet.

Her grandpa would even keep track of her times, writing them in a notebook and then comparing her times to the times of the girls her age when they appeared in his local newspaper.

Brown knows he’ll be watching her on race day from above, waiting to log her time just as he always did.

Frank Cashman pictured with his grandchildren, Julianna and Matt.
Frank Cashman pictured with his grandchildren, Julianna and Matt.

“I think it will be easier for me. I know 6 miles is going to be long but I think I’ll be motivated not only from the adrenaline from the race, but knowing that he did this and he’s watching and he knows. I think no matter what happens he will be proud of everyone.”

Brown says her goal on Saturday is simply to finish.

“I don’t have any time goal as much as I want to run it for my grandpa, carry on his legacy, make him proud, make my family proud and just the pride of knowing how it started.”

 

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