By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Fifth annual Nick Rauser 5K and one mile walk returns to North Olmsted June 1, in the Bretton Ridge Park neighborhood.
The race is named after Nicholas Rauser, a North Olmsted youth who was fatally injured in a car accident in 2008. The Leader Light Foundation, a nonprofit organization, works to keep Rauser’s memory alive with this yearly event. The foundation also sponsors area Hot Stove baseball teams and has a scholarship program for local graduating high school seniors who played varsity sports.
“(The foundation) is going great,” Heather Riley, a Leader Light Foundation volunteer, said. “We are trying to keep up with all that we have going.”
The Nick Rauser run has grown from around 600 participants in 2011 to 900 last year, and there are expectations of a similar turnout this June. There is no need for any participants to eat before the race, as the foundation serves breakfast during preregistration starting at 7:30 a.m. on race day, with the famous post-race picnic following the 5K.
“It’s kind of a huge undertaking, so we’re just trying to keep up with what we have,” Riley reiterated. “We have some new food sponsors this year, and all of our other sponsors have been with us for all five races.”
The one mile walk begins at 9 a.m., followed by the 5K at 9:10 a.m.
The event has a dedicated volunteer staff, who return every year to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
“There’s a core group of eight to 12 of us, that have been the committee each year and we are the ones that do all the pre-race stuff,” Riley said. “On the day of the race, there’s a huge group of family and friends that are willing to help out, which is awesome!
“It’s just a great day,” she continued. “It is so much fun. Everyone there is so happy and it’s a great day to spend with your family. There is swimming, the Kids Zone (with games and prizes) and tons of food.”
With the race going through the Bretton Ridge Park neighborhood, there are people throughout the course encouraging the runners.
“(The residents) are great about it,” Riley said. “A lot of them will make signs and sit in their front yards cheering the runners on.”
Preregistration for the one mile walk is $18, with race-day registration $20. Preregistration for the 5K is $23, with race-day registration $25. For more information on the race or the Leader Light Foundation, go online to www.nicholasrauser.com.