Registration is still open for the 65 Roses 5K and Great Strides Walk taking place Saturday at Lee University. This year, the 18th Annual Cleveland Great Strides Weekend will celebrate crossing the million dollar fundraising milestone as the community raises awareness and money to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic disease affecting the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide).
“Saturday will be a monumental day for our local efforts for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” said Dr. Mike Hayes, event co-chair and vice president for Lee’s student development. “The entire day will be a celebration of the remarkable partnership between our community members and our campus. We eagerly anticipate achieving this milestone together.”
Day of race registration and check-in for the 5K will begin at 7 a.m. in front of the Lee University Paul Conn Student Union. The route for the 2018 walk and USATF certified 5K run (3.1 miles) will begin and end on the Lee campus and travel throughout Cleveland’s historic downtown area. The road race, in partnership with Terra Running Company, will begin at 8:30 a.m.
The first 1,000 entries will receive a Boco hat, and all finishers will receive a T-shirt. Panera Bread bagels, fruit, and water will be available upon finishing.
Awards will be given to the top female and male overall, in addition to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd place male and female runners in 12 different age divisions.
Pre-registered runners can pick up race packets Friday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at Terra Running Company.
A 1K Fun Run will take place at 9:15, followed by the road race awards at 9:45 a.m.
The Great Strides walk will begin at 10 a.m., immediately following the 5K race awards and a walk warm-up led by Hannah Davis of Body.ByHannah. Walk check-in begins at 9 a.m. Individuals and teams representing schools, businesses, community groups, and friends and family of those affected by cystic fibrosis will join together for a 3-mile walk through the Lee University campus and downtown Cleveland.
Cleveland Great Strides will welcome America’s most decorated distance runner, Meb Keflezighi, to run and speak throughout the weekend, to help commemorate the million dollar achievement.
Meb is the only runner to have won the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon, and an Olympic medal. He is a 23-time national champion, a four-time Olympic athlete, and the oldest marathon runner in U.S. Olympic history.
During his time in Cleveland, Meb will participate in a variety of events from local school visits to a Friday evening dinner.
On Thursday Meb will speak at the Lee University chapel service in the Dixon Center at 10:40 a.m. This event is non-ticketed, free, and open to the public.
Meb will also appear at a local high school track meet, join Arnold Memorial Elementary for the annual Great Strides mini-walk on Friday, and run with Lee’s cross country team while in Cleveland.
On Friday night at 6:30, Meb will share his personal story at the 65 Roses Dinner. Tickets are still available for dinner only or for a VIP experience including dinner, race entry, a signed race bib, and a photo with Meb.
In addition to running the 65 Roses 5K on Saturday morning, Meb will shoot the starting pistol and hand out the awards at the end of the race.
This year’s premier sponsors include Bank of Cleveland, Caldwell Paving and Grading, Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, Crawford’s Pharmacy, Don Ledford Automotive, Easy Auto, First Tennessee Foundation, Keller Williams-Cleveland, Lee University, Garden Plaza, Life Care Center of Cleveland, Paul and Darlia Conn, Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Crematory, South East Bank, Southern Heritage Bank, Tennova Healthcare, and Tri-Con, Inc., and media sponsors are Cleveland Daily Banner, East-West Media, and WCLE’s Mix 104.1.
Kilometer sponsors include Bradley Concrete, Brown Stove Works, Economy Honda of Chattanooga, EquiTitle, Inc., Regions Bank, and Jim Rush Funeral & Cremation Services. Community Sponsors include Andrew Johnson Bank; Arnett, Kirksey, Kimsey, Sullivan, Lay & Hall; Award Realty; Kevin & Kim Brooks; Check Into Cash; Cleveland Utilities; SmartBank; and Tennessee Valley Urology Center.
CF is a genetic disease which damages and eventually destroys the lungs of its patients. The proceeds from Great Strides go directly to support research and drug development for those affected by the disease.
To register for the race or dinner, visit http://webpages.leeu.edu/cf/.
For more information about the walk or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit http://fightcf.cff.org/ClevelandGreatStrides.