After months of planning, one of the most popular Memorial Day activities jumpstarts the long weekend: the Weston Memorial Day 5K Run. Preparation began shortly after the new year.
The Weston High School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) holds their 28th 5K run on Saturday, May 28th. The event is back in full swing after it was canceled in 2020 and went virtual in 2021. All activities are the same as when the race was held in 2019, except for an added virtual 5K option where participants can run anywhere and submit their times.
Current PTO president Kristina Esslinger is overseeing the 5K fundraiser this year, and recounts how she became involved in the 5K after her sons participated in 2017. She started on the sponsorship committee and has been on the board ever since.
“There is a ton of enthusiasm for this year among the PTO,” said Ms. Esslinger. “It’s great seeing people in the community come out and participate.” She hopes to share her excitement for the race and reach a turnout similar to the one achieved in the 2019 race.Sign up in advance online. Walk-in registration on the day of the race is available too, but registering before the race will guarantee you a t-shirt with the 5K race logo on the front and surnames of family sponsors who contribute $50 or more on the back. The t-shirt and 5K logo are redesigned every year by a Design Committee.
All aspects of preparing for the 5K race are done by PTO committees. As the run is the PTO’s biggest fundraiser of the year, they hope to gain much support and participation. In addition to funds raised from racers and family sponsorships, the PTO reaches out for sponsorships at the corporate level. This effort primarily begins in January and continues into February. With the help of runners and sponsorships, the PTO raised approximately $17,000 in 2019 from the 5K.
The Logistics Committee in particular begins their work a couple of months before the race, checking that the USA Track and Field (USATF) certified 5K course is set up properly. They reach out to the Weston Department of Public Works, Weston Police, Weston Volunteer Fire Department, Weston EMS, and Weston High School to ensure proper use of public and school grounds and the safety of everyone.
While all this is going on, the 5K website is redesigned. Once it launches, the Publicity Committee spreads the word by hanging up signs and sending newsletters. The race could not go on without help from so many PTO members.
The PTO will also need all the volunteer help they can obtain to ensure race day runs smoothly. While a handful of PTO members are responsible for all volunteer roles, there is typically a group of forty to fifty people who help with a wide array of tasks. Volunteers could help with the Kids Fun Run, manage the water tables, direct traffic, drive the pace cars, and hand out awards.
With all the hard work and time that goes into preparing for the 5K race, all signs point to an event just as successful and fun as in previous years.