Yesterday, I ran in my first Step Up for Colleen 5k race in Andover, MA. The race was started 3 years ago in the memory of a bright, caring young woman that was tragically killed by a student of hers in October 2012. Although I never met Colleen Ritzer, she is described as a caring and energetic teacher that took the time to see the good in every day. In the years since the first running of this race, yes there have been winners, and age group awards but this race means so much more than that. The proceeds from the race go to the Colleen Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund which is annually awarded to high school seniors that plan to pursue a career in education. The reach that colleen had is clearly seen as since it’s inception, the race has now grown to include over 3,500 runners/walkers. The participants include staff and students from neighboring towns, locals that both knew and didn’t know Colleen.
So while awards were given out, the runners weren’t running to win, they were running t remember and to celebrate the life of a woman cut tragically short. As long as this event is held, you can bet that I will be at the starting line.