Run, walk added to Cherry Festival

Bryan Veginski

Runners of all abilities have a new option available on their calendars.

The Cherry Festival 5K Run will be conducted for the first time at 7:30 a.m. May 31.

The event was added to the list of Washington Cherry Festival activities and it is an Illinois Valley Striders Grand Prix event.

There also will be a one-mile fun run/walk that the Washington Park District hopes will help draw additional participants.

Park district executive director Doug Damery said the goal of the event is to attract not only avid runners, but also Washington-area residents who have thought about entering a race.

It is part of the organization’s general effort to promote a healthy lifestyle.

A gentleman fairly new to the racing scene, Doug Weston, got the ball rolling on the idea and the park district jumped right in by providing administrative support and publicity.

The park district contemplated producing a 5K, and when Weston came forward, it made the idea reality.

Damery said early entries have come in and he is hoping to attract close to 200 runners.

Weston and Damery are serving as co-race directors.

The 5K starts near Five Points Washington, where check-in and race-day registration will occur.

The route back follows primarily along the Washington Recreation Trail.

Anyone who pays the $25 entry fee by today (that deadline may be extended) will be guaranteed a technical running shirt.

Anyone may register up to and including race day. The cost for race-day sign-ups is $30.

A nice gift packet will be offered to runners as well as post-race food and drink.

Any race participant can eat for free afterward at the Washington Rotary Pancake and Sausage Breakfast.

Trophies will be awarded to the 5K top overall male and female as well as the top three male and female finishers in each age group.

Event sponsors include: Uftring Chevy Saab, Scott Underwood Homes, Sleep Inn & Suites, State Farm-Roger Hickman, Lindy’s Downtown Market, Gracie’s Sports Grille & Pizza, Pepsi, Team Works, Brunk’s Sports Center, Washington Park District and Five Points Washington.

For more information, call the Washington Park District at 444-9413, or visit its Web site at www.washingtonpark