Memorial Run for Sarah Johnson

August 19, 2012 Updated Aug 19, 2012 at 6:45 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

August 19, 2012 Updated Aug 19, 2012 at 6:45 PM EDT

WILSON (WKBW) While the community of Wilson is made up of only about 12 hundred people, almost six hundred runners from throughout Western New York gathered there Sunday morning for the Sarah Johnson Memorial 5k race.

Jaime Lepsch organized the run, and was also Sarah's track coach.

"Sarah was an exceptional runner. She made a name for herself at a young age, and I know that she is looking down on us and saying run this for me," Lepsch said.

The event was named the "iWacko Run" after the light hearted series of Youtube videos the teen posted for fun.

"I actually haven't forced myself to watch them yet because I can't bring myself to see her. But I know that they were very outgoing and happy videos," Sarah's friend, track teammate, and event organizer Shannon Nye said through tears.

Donning yellow shirts, headbands, bracelets, and shoelaces, hundreds did what Sarah loved to do, run. And they did it at a place where she raced just weeks before the tragic house explosion that took her life.

Zipporah Barret, Sarah's best friend, was one of those runners.

"We did the Salmon Run together, and I owe it to her to do my best and try to win my age group," she said.

And for the runners of Sunday's race, some who knew the Johnson family but many who never met them, the importance of the 5k run was still crystal clear.

"This is the most tragic thing I think has ever happened in Wilson, and to come out and support the Johnson family, you've got over 500 people out here on a Sunday morning. It speaks well about how much the community really cares," Senator George Maziarz said.

"It's so nice that we can all come together to support a family that really needs it. And it makes me proud to be a Wilson teacher and part of the Wilson community," Wilson teacher and runner Kate Peck added.

Organizers estimate that Sunday's run raised over 15 thousand dollars to help the Johnson family.

"I run for Sarah. We run for Sarah," Jaime Lepsch said.