Originally published May 9, 2013
Weekend 5K run honors Molly Dattilo
Missing Madison woman's sister happy for Cleveland women, has little hope Molly is alive.
Friday, May 10, 2013 5:00 AM
An annual run/walk established in honor of missing Madison native Molly Dattilo is set for this weekend, nine years after her disappearance in Indianapolis.
The Molly Dattilo Run/Walk 5K will start at 8 a.m. Saturday on the riverfront and is for all ages. Race-day registration begins at 6 a.m.
Dattilo disappeared without a trace while attending summer classes at Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis campus. She was last seen at a gas station on the westside of the city in July 2004. She was 23.
Her disappearance has not been solved.
The run comes the same week when three Cleveland women were found after being held captive for several years.
Molly's sister, Celestra Hoffman, said she has spoken with several other families with missing relatives throughout the years. While she is "extremely excited" for the victim's families in Cleveland, she realizes not every missing-person case ends in such a way.
Hoffman said based on the information the family has received, it is unlikely her sister is alive but added that the family has little information about what may have happened.
"Over the years, you go crazy if you continue to feel hopeful every time someone is found," she said.
Because the case is still open, Hoffman said the run allows the family to draw attention to Dattilo's disappearance.
Already the family has lobbied to create Molly's Law, which was established in 2007 and requires law enforcement to get involved in missing adult cases sooner. And just this month, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law that requires officer training in regards to Molly's Law. That law was sponsored by State Rep. Terry Goodin who represents Jefferson County.
Dattilo was a graduate of Madison Consolidated High School.
Paul Kelly, one of the organizers for the annual mid-May run, said the race began in 1982 as a way to encourage young runners in the community. It was later renamed for Dattilo.
Throughout the years, hundreds of youngsters have run the course, including Dattilo - who won the mile-race as a third grader - and her family.
In 2005, the Dattilo family re-organized the event as the Molly Dattilo Walk/Run 5K in an effort to help raise funds for a private investigator.
The family's efforts soon developed into an organization that began offering scholarships and donations to local youth running programs.
Each year, one senior from Southwestern, Shawe Memorial and Madison will receive the scholarship, which is expected to be announced as early as next week.
Kelly said one of the reasons the race is so successful is because of running coaches and after-school running clubs.
"That's really the driving force for the race," he said.
Kelly said between 80 and 90 volunteers come together each year to organize the event. So far, 750 runners have registered.
In the last two years, Kelly said the event has attracted more than 800 runners and has had as many as 900 participants.
Hoffman said the interesting thing about the event is that it encourages those of all ages and abilities - something she said Dattilo would have been the first to encourage.
"I don't think it could be any better," Hoffman said. "You see all of these hundreds of kids from all these backgrounds, schools, shapes and sizes, and it's very exciting."
Times and events:
8 a.m. - 5K run
8:05 a.m. - 5K walk
9:15 a.m. - .5-mile run, girls grades K-3.
9:30 a.m. - .5-mile run, boys grades K-3.
9:45 a.m. - 1-mile run, girls grades 3-5.
10 a.m. - 1-mile rune, boys grades, 3-5.
The registration fee will be $25 for the 5K run/walk the day of the race.