Don “Red” Edwards is a staple at Big Walnut High School cross country and track & field meets, home or away. But Red’s reputation goes beyond Big Walnut.
During the state cross country championships on Nov. 7 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Red will be recognized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for his nearly 60 years of service to the sport.
As a lifelong resident of Sunbury, Red has dedicated his adult life to the improvement of his community through the promotion of track & field and cross country. Growing up on a farm on the outskirts of Sunbury, Red ran through fields that now house Big Walnut High School and the Golden Eagles’ athletic complex.
After his high school graduation, Red became an assistant track & field coach at Big Walnut in 1957, and later became the head track & field coach and started the school’s cross country program.
Red continues to help both the track and cross country programs to this day. The Big Walnut cross country course that Red helped to develop runs through the same fields that he ran when he was a teen.
Not only has Red Edwards been an influential mentor in the lives of thousands of Big Walnut student/athletes for the past 55 years, he has broadly promoted the sports of track & field and cross country in another exceptional way. In 1989, Red converted his childhood home on the family farm into a unique track & field and cross country museum.
Red’s museum of memorabilia houses thousands of documents, news clippings, medals and other items of interest from the past through to the present.
One item is the first place medal from the very first OHSAA cross country championships in 1928.
The most attractive arrangement of Red’s museum is that admission by appointment is free. He loves to host any and all who wish to time travel from the past to the present, perhaps looking for his or her own name or other competitor in some long-forgotten result sheet.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093