Avid runner Kevin Kraay, long-time business manager at Hope, hit the road with added purpose on Saturday, May 4, during the Nana’s Run 5K held in Grand Rapids on behalf of ALS patients and research.
“It was especially memorable as I could honor my mom who passed away 15 years ago from ALS,” he said.
Wearing a Hope t-shirt (the college was among the event’s sponsors), he placed an impressive 11th overall out of 1,199 participants. In addition, Kraay, who is 60, was first in the Masters division for runners 40 and older.
“It was a perfect morning for a run,” he said. “I was happy to do so well in memory of her.”
Kraay has been running competitively since 1997, when he participated in his first 25K River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, a race he hasn't missed since. His race events through the years have ranged from 5K to 50 miles long, and have included not only marathons but ironman distance triathlons.
A 1981 Hope graduate, Kraay joined the college’s staff in 1985 as director of accounting. He was named assistant business manager in 1987, associate business manager in 1995 and business manager in 2001. He previously held an accounting position with the Reformed Church in America.
In its sixth year this year, Nana’s Run is held to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and to raise funds to support patient and physician education, ALS patients and their families, and ongoing research within Michigan. Open to athletes of all abilities, walkers or runners, the event is presented by the ALS Association Michigan Chapter and Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in partnership with the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation. It was established and is co-chaired by Cassandra DeVos Thorndill and Sydney DeVos Reames, the latter of whom is a Hope graduate, as a tribute to their grandmother, Charlotte “Nana” VanderLaan, who died on March 7, 2014, after battling ALS.