Rockford Veteran’s Center holds third annual Veteran’s 5K Run and Walk

Staff Report

Rockford’s Veterans Drop-In Center will hold its third annual Veteran’s 5K Run and Walk on Saturday, November 7 beginning at 9 a.m. The race begins and ends near Sportscore I at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 1288 Elmwood Road, in Rockford.

All proceeds benefit the Veterans Drop-In Center, which is currently moving from its rented site at 413 N. Court Street to a permanent location at 1539 S. 4th Street. The Drop-In Center announced earlier this month that thanks to $33,000 from The Home Depot Foundation and dozens of volunteers, the new site will be remodeled to accommodate the center and offer extended hours to serve local veterans.

The remodeling of the new location is expected to be complete on November 7 – the same day the center will hold its third annual run and four days before the nation recognizes the Veterans Day holiday. This year’s event has grown to become a Rockford Roadrunners Circuit Race with more than 400 runners expected to participate. This is also the first year the event has had a major sponsor in Home Depot.

“The run started out two years ago with about 100 runners and has grown to become one of the more popular runs in the fall season for the Rockford area running community,” Veterans 5K Run and Walk Race Director Lois Shores said. “And the timing couldn’t be better this year, with the opening of the new Drop-In Center happening at the same time, there is a lot to celebrate while we honor our vets.”

The center offers a free location for veterans to drop in from 4:30-8 p.m. on weekdays. A dinner is served every evening for the guests, many of which are homeless. The Veterans Drop-In Center offers several other conveniences such as haircuts, a pool table, television and lounge area, and on-site meetings and programs with VA and Vet Center representatives.

Setting this apart from other area 5Ks, the Veterans 5K Run/Walk has a military theme running throughout the event – from a bugle sounding the start of the race, to winners receiving dog tags instead of standard race medals. Veterans and military members will be in uniform to cheer on the runners, who are all encouraged to wear their red, white and blue for the 3.2 mile hike.

The cost to enter the race is $25 in advance and $10 for children 14 and under. Prizes will be awarded for top three male and female runners in 17 different age divisions, and there will also be prizes for the top overall Veterans who compete. There is a discount for Rockford Roadrunners and Rockford Wildcats. Register online at Veterans 5K Run and Walk Facebook page, or contact race director Lois Shores at 815-289-8386 or lshores@charter.net.

Prizes will be available for the top three male and female runners in the following categories: 0-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60-64, 65-69, 70-75, 75+. Prizes will also be awarded for top male and female overall runners as well as top overall Veteran and top Veteran in each branch. There will also be a prize for most patriotic apparel worn.

For more information about the drop-in center, visit veteransdropincenter.com/ or contact the Veterans Drop-In Center Director Pat Ambrose at 815-713-8843.

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