Former Pasco High School cross country runners gathered along the Columbia River on Sunday to pay tribute to one of the program's fiercest competitors.
Christopher DeShazo's old coach told stories about his former star's most memorable races, including the day he set the Pasco High record for the mile. The record of four minutes and 16 seconds still stands today.
DeShazo, 44, of Mesa, Ariz., was killed in a motorcycle wreck Oct. 10.His former teammates, friends and family gathered at the Road 54 boat launch in Pasco to run in his honor.
"When you run with a group of guys there is an unspoken bond," said DeShazo's brother, Gabe. "There's no other way to say goodbye to a runner than to run."
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Chris DeShazo set the record for the mile in 1987 during his senior year. His coach, Dale Fuller, describes him as one of the toughest runners he has ever coached.
Chris DeShazo ran against one of the best runners in the state in a two-mile race on a sprained ankle, Fuller recalled. He sprinted next to the Kamikan runner the last 200 meters before finishing second.
"That's one of the gutsiest races I have ever seen," Fuller said. "That was Chris."
Chris DeShazo's dedication to the sport and the cool confidence he exuded were an inspiration to his teammates.
Michael Scheel, the track coach at DeSales High School in Walla Walla, was a sophomore when DeShazo was a senior. Scheel will never forget Chris DeShazo's infectious smile or the respect he commanded from his opponents.
"He is the best that Pasco has ever seen," Scheel said as he prepared to run Sunday. "He was fearless. He was dedicated."
Gabe DeShazo will remember his brother as the ultimate competitor who brought out the best in other runners, he said.
"He was the guy you didn't want to race," he said. "He made you race him. Even if you knew you could beat him, he wouldn't let you beat him. Chris was a guy that never quit."
He is survived by a son and daughter. A memorial service was held Saturday in Pasco.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org: Twitter; @Ty_richardson