Memories Of A Brave Runner

There are times in sports when competition is put on the back-burner and a good story transcends winning and losing.

No doubt the Bluegrass 10,000 has a reputation for drawing incredible athletes from around the country, even the world but this July Fourth, timing is all personal and no record.

10,000 meters, more than 3,500 runners, walkers and rollers. But this July Fourth, the story was of a race run more than 25 years ago, when time had stopped but the clock was still ticking for Joe Bieschke.

“He just proved that you don’t have to be the first, you don’t have to be your record best as long as you’re out there, you’re competing and basically you’re just challenging yourself,” said Mark, Joe’s brother.

The 16-year-old Lexington Catholic student athlete thought he had out-run cancer in the summer of 1986. But 10-days after he received a clean bill of health, the disease came back and spread quickly.

“He thought, you know, I’m a runner, I’m going to do this,” said Joe’s mother, Louise.

Nothing, not even a re-diagnosis would stop Joe Bieschke from completing the Bluegrass 10,000.

Near the halfway point in the 10,000, Joe’s grandmother, standing on the sidelines, pleaded with him to stop. His response, "I’m going all the way."

“You know what, we’re going to make it,” recalls Louise. “So when he told her, nope, I thought, okay.”

Now, all this time later, Bieschke’s race was remembered and his steps were retraced by family and friends impacting the fight against cancer while they’re feet impacted downtown Lexington.

“It was good to try to retrace his footsteps after all these years,” said Joe’s father, Patrick.

For more information on how to donate to the Joe Bieschke Memorial Fund head to

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