ELYRIA — The James A. Kerstetter 5K race and 1-Mile Family Fun Walk are gearing up for the fifth annual event Saturday.
Race organizer Terry Costigan said online registration closed over the weekend, with more than 740 participants. Another 100 and 200 runners could join the fray Friday evening or Saturday morning.
“Each year is better than the last,” Costigan said. “It’s a well-organized event. Plus, there is the community spirit aspect that keeps people coming back.”
The race honors Elyria Police Sgt. James A. Kerstetter, a 15-year veteran who was shot and killed in the line of duty March 15, 2010. Weeks after his death, the event was organized by officers and community leaders to keep his memory alive. It is held annually on or near Kerstetter’s birthday, July 9.
The course is patterned after a route Kerstetter would take himself. A fitness buff, Kerstetter often ran the neighborhood streets around the police station as a way to stay in shape. This year, as was the case in 2013, the course has been altered slightly because of construction in the area.
The start/finish will be Kerstetter Way with a turnaround at Washington Avenue and Elywood Drive. Affected streets will be closed 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. race day.
Runners interested in participating can sign up 4 to 7 p.m. Friday in the community room of the Elyria Police Station as well as on the day of the race. The cost is $20 per runner.
The race kicks off with the family walk at 8 a.m. and the 5K run at 8:30 a.m.
A limited number of race T-shirts will be available Saturday for $10 each. All runners who have registered will receive a T-shirt.
Costigan said many Elyria police officers run in formation during the entire race. This year, they will be followed by a team from Lorain police and the Ohio Highway Patrol. Elyria officers will run the race and then turn around at the finish line to run behind the last runner until everyone is across the line.
“As much as this is a fundraiser for the scholarship in Jim’s name, it is a community event first under his name to remind people who he was and his legacy to the community,” Costigan said.
Proceeds go to the James A. Kerstetter Memorial Scholarship Fund.