Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

April 24, 2014

Turning the town pink for Colleen


The Andover Townsman

---- — Pink will be the color of the day on Sunday, May 4 as the family, friends, colleagues and classmates of the late Colleen Ritzer take to the streets of Andover for the first Step Up for Colleen 5K.

The looped course begins at 9 a.m. from The Park at the corner of Chestnut and Bartlet streets in downtown Andover and winds through the Phillips Academy bird sanctuary. The race will conclude at the nearby Center at Punchard (formerly known as the Andover Senior Center) at 30 Whittier Court.

The race is geared for both runners and walkers, with everyone encouraged to wear pink, Ritzer’s favorite color, or other displays of tribute to the young teacher.

Bill Pennington of Andover, the co-organizer of the annually successful Run for the Troops in town, is helping with Step Up for Colleen race logistics. He is preparing for an overwhelming turnout, with registrations expected to surge now with the conclusion of the Boston Marathon.

Registration for both the walk and run is $25 in advance, and online registration continues until Friday, May 2, at noon. Race-day registration at Doherty Middle School on Bartlet Street is $30. T-shirts are guaranteed to the first 2,000 registrants.

Race packet pick-up will take place Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Greater Boston Running Company, 45 Main St. in downtown Andover. Packets may also be picked up the morning of the race starting at 7.

Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers overall and in the following categories: Under 12, 13 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70-plus.

Due to the high number of entrants expected, race organizers together with North Shore Timing Company have decided to only time runners who wish to receive a time and appear in the results. They said the decision will help keep down some of the timing cost and instead place more emphasis on raising money for a memorial fund. Runners who wish to be officially timed are asked to indicate that with their registrations.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Step Up for Colleen Fund, which supports charitable activities that honor the legacy of Ritzer, including the Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship Fund. The fund is expected to award its first scholarships this spring to graduating seniors from Andover and Danvers high schools who demonstrate a passion for teaching, academic excellence and love of family. Those unable to participate are invited to make a donation to support the fund

To register for or donate to Step Up for Colleen, visit http://colleenritzer5k.com. or www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglivecb.aspx?eventyear_id=146. More information is also available at the event Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StepUpforColleenRitzer.