Emma Stoltzfus– Staff Writer
Nate Wolf’s feet pound against the ground as he runs through the streets of Sioux Center. It’s a cloudy and cool in the early afternoon. A brisk wind blows from the north-west, pushing against his back and lending him speed. By the time Wolf starts the trail through Dordt’s prairie he’s beginning to feel the strain. He continues on, bolstered by thoughts of why he’s running today.
Wolf is the head coach for Dordt’s cross country program, and an assistant coach for track and field. On the afternoon of October 16th he ran across Sioux Center to record his time for the first Defender Dash Virtual 5k. The following week, from October 20-24th, 110 people from around the country followed Wolf’s lead.
Alicia Bowar, Dordt’s associate director of alumni and parent relations, came up with the idea of having a virtual 5k. Normally she helps put on at least a dozen events a year for the Dordt community, but this year Bowar had to get creative. She reached out to Wolf for advice and to see if he’d consider recording a time for participants to race against for a prize. He agreed and suggested that the funds go towards the David Temte Memorial Scholarship.
In June of 2019, David Temte and his twin brother, Benjamin, died in a Montana car accident while driving home from a two-week road-trip across the western united states. Temte was a junior at Dordt and ran with both cross country and track. Teammates and coaches alike remember Temte as someone who ran with dedication and cared for those around him. His influence at Dordt continues on over a year after his passing.
“David was a servant leader and cared about people deeply and I’ve heard that from so many people” Bowar said, “It’s not about being the fasted runner on the cross county team, but it’s about your character and that focus of loving other people deeply.”
Rather than requiring high scores or multiple awards, receivers of David Temte Memorial Scholarship are chosen for their compassion, integrity, team-first approach, dependability, and humility—qualities often used to describe the scholarship’s namesake.
“David was super-fast, but what I remember of him the most is the way he could make us feel that he was talking to us when he was talking to us.” Wolf said, “He made everyone he talked to feel important and special.”
This year the hope is to turn the scholarship into an endowed fund, which requires a benchmark amount of at least $50,000. The fund sat around $11,000 short of that goal. By the time the race began, money from the virtual 5k’s $25 entry fee and additional donations amounted to nearly $6,000.
People from California to Minnesota to Illinois and Iowa signed up for the virtual 5k. Over a hundred people, including the Temte family, alumni, current students, and former teammates, laced up their running shoes to honor Temte’s memory. After sending in their times, participants will also receive a t-shirt and bookstore coupon. Those who beat Wolf’s time will be awarded a Dordt decal or luggage tag.
“I think for me, as someone who has lost a child, for people to remember your children and the impact that they had—I think it means a lot to the Temtes,” Wolf said, “I’m happy that we can continue to remember him through this race and the scholarship.”
Wolf slows to a stop at the Sioux Children’s Park. He’s finished his route of a little over three miles in sixteen minutes and fifty-four seconds. Though surprised at his own time, Wolf attributes it to the cause he’s running for.
“My third mile I was thinking a little bit about him because when you’re starting to hurt and wondering ‘why am I doing this?’ it’s good to have a good reason.” Wolf said after his run, “He was a good reason today.”