For more than 25 years, Janine Labath of Davenport was one of the stalwarts of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 volunteer corps.
Officially, she chaired the pre-race party, a festive recognition event held the Friday night before the race for sponsors, elite runners and volunteer committee chairpersons.
But she also handled various duties as assigned, helping race director Ed Froehlich with a lot of computer work — compiling lists of this and that and preparing race information packets for the elite runners, her twin brother, Allen Harris of Davenport, said.
In 2008, Labath, also of Davenport, was inducted into the 25-year club of volunteer committee chairmen. But in the past two years, health issues forced her to step back, and she passed away Nov. 3 at the age of 65.
On Saturday, her service and spirit were remembered by "Team Janine," a group of about 70 family and friends who walked or ran the race in her memory. They wore commemorative "Team Janine" coral-colored T-shirts with a halo over the "7" in Bix 7.
Leading the group was her husband, Dale. Although he, too, is a member of the 25-year volunteer club, having helped with the finish line, setup, medical tent and pre-race party, Saturday was the first time he actually participated in the race. He walked the entire seven miles.
At 11 a.m., the team and Froehlich gathered on bleachers at the intersection of 3rd and Iowa streets to pose for a group photo beneath a large Bix 7 logo hanging from the railroad overpass there.
Labath got involved in the Bix 7 as many people do: Someone asked her. In her case, it was her brother, who is the committee chairperson in charge of the finish line.
"She just liked being involved," Harris said. "She got a lot of enjoyment or satisfaction, I guess, out of just helping out.
"And there's the camaraderie and the friendship with Ed (Froehlich) and Sandy (Ed's wife). We're just like a group. When you do a lot of things with Ed, he gives you a job. He puts you to work."
Labath was a "wonderful person," Froehlich said, adding that she would help out in any way she could, and not just for the Bix 7.
In addition to her husband and brother, other family members volunteer for the annual race, too, including Harris' wife, Karen, and the Labaths' son, Shane, and grandsons, Brandon and Craig.
They were all part of the "team," as well as son Brad of Venice, Fla., who helped initiate the event, his brother Scott of Marion, Iowa, sister Shelly Kuehlen of Montgomery, Ill., and cousin Kelly Quick.
On Friday, about 20 family members had a picnic at Labath's gravesite in Davenport Memorial Park, Karen Harris said. Before they left, they laid a "Team Janine" T-shirt on her grave.
And as they smiled and waved to the camera Saturday, they remembered the woman who meant so much to so many people, a woman who now is truly running with the best.