DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Fairborn community joined together Wednesday to honor 17-year-old Lily Clingner, a high school cross-country runner who lost her life in a car accident last Friday.
Lily’s coach and teammates organized “Run with Lily”, a lap around Community Park beginning at Fairborn High School, in memory of the young woman who touched their lives so deeply.
“As a team, this is what we did every single day for warm up,” Fairborn Cross-Country Coach Allie Roberts Brazie said. “[The team] said, ‘Let’s invite whoever we want’, and it blew up. It’s pretty awesome seeing all the support we have.”
Coach Brazie said Lily was the first runner who she had for all six years of her coaching career at Fairborn. Lily joined the team in seventh grade, keeping with it all the way through to her senior year.
“Lily was one of mine,” Brazie said. “At the awards night, it was really special to say, ‘Hey, I’ve had you for this whole time’. To me, that meant a lot.”
“Nobody likes cross-country,” Brazie joked. “I mean, nobody likes to run. Running is not going to be your first choice. For somebody to stick with me for six years is a huge thing to do. It was an amazing point to her character.”
Brazie described Lily as a passionate leader for the team who inspired others with her positive and upbeat attitude.
“It was to the point where she was bringing other people to the team, which is not easy to do. She brought friends who ran more than three years with me,” Brazie said. “She would make things fun. She actually ended up being voted as a captain her senior year. Everybody just liked being around her.”
The Run with Lily event also featured a silent auction inside the high school, with the proceeds benefitting those involved in the car accident.
“Cross-country is very much we love our team, and we love everybody involved, so I definitely want to make sure I give back to everyone involved and try to help them as much as possible,” she said.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Lily on Dec. 27 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Dayton FOP located at 4275 Powell Road.
The event is open to everyone, and anyone with photos or memories of Lily to share is encouraged to bring them.