Friends and family of Oxford native received far more support than they expected last year when they organized the inaugural "Ryan's Superhero Run/Walk" to honor the memory of an Oxford native taken too young.
They thought the 5K might bring some 50 to 100 people. Instead, and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Hole in the Wall Camp, an organization founded by actor Paul Newman that provides a free camp experience for children with serious medical conditions.
Because of last year's success, the run will be held again. The second-annual event will be held today, Saturday, Sept. 15, at , 24 Hawley Road.
"Last year’s event was very successful, and we want to keep Ryan’s memory at the front of everyone’s minds forever, so that is why we want to keep doing it again and again," said Kelly Hagstrom, an event organizer.
VerNooy died in a car accident in Tolland in December 2010 at age 23. A mechanical engineer by trade, VerNooy was an avid runner who also loved superheros. Friends and family thought a 5K with a superhero theme was a good way to honor his memory. So far, people have enjoyed it.
"It adds a nice touch," Hagstrom said of the costumes. "I'm hearing there will be some interesting costumes this year."
You have to attend to learn what those costumes will be, she said.
Check-in and day-of registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The race will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. from the Colonial Tavern. There will be free on-site parking available.
Participants have the choice of completing a 5K run or a 1.5 mile walk that each start and end at the Colonial Tavern. Some rolling hills are included in the course. Superhero costumes are encouraged but not required. People of all ages are invited to participate; strollers are welcome, but please no pets. The first 400 participants registered will receive a commemorative T-shirt and a complimentary gift bag. Food and water will be provided for all participants.
Awards will be given to the overall top three male and female finishers, as well as the top three males and females from the following age groups: 12 and under; 13-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60 and above. These and additional raffle prizes have been generously donated by local businesses and restaurants.
Pre-registration is $20. Day-of registration is $25.
For more information, or to sign up online, please visit: http://www.hitekracing.com/ryanssuperherorun/
Computerized timing and results will be provided by HiTek Racing.