Five hundred fifty runners and walkers broke records in attendance and in funds raised at the Fifth Annual Heather L. Hurd 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk on Nov. 9 at Harford Community College.
Nearly 250 more participants ran or walked in the race on Saturday compared to last year. In addition, $23,000 was raised for scholarships for Harford Community College students, exceeding last year's total by $7,000. Over the five years the race has been held, $70,000 has been raised for Remembrance Book Scholarships.
The race honored the memory of Heather L. Hurd, a history major at Harford Community College from 1998 to 2003, who was killed five years ago by a distracted driver who was texting.
Erica Henry was the top female runner, completing the 5K in 21:22.0. The top male runner was Roberto Ascenzi, who finished the race in 18:23.3.
Tracy Hart of WAMD was master of ceremonies for the event, and WAMD broadcast live from the race.
Also attending the race were Harford County Executive David Craig, State Sen. Barry Glassman, Sheriff Jesse Bane and Councilman Chad Shrodes in addition to the Oriole Bird and Poe from the Ravens.
"My family and I are so grateful and touched by the way our event has grown and how the community and Harford Community College have embraced our family's story, our daughter and our desire to give back to students at HCC," said Russell Hurd, Heather's father. "Through the race, we are able to spread our message that highway fatalities can indeed be prevented through increased education and awareness."
Several distracted driving awareness advocates from across the country, including from California, Utah, Maine and Pennsylvania, shared stories of their loved ones who were killed and how they are working to stop distracted driving.
Many activities took place before and after the race, including the Maryland State Police's seat belt convincer, which demonstrated the impact of an automobile crash and the importance of wearing a seat belt, and DUI goggles that simulated the impairment and danger caused by drunk driving.
Also on hand were two texting-while-driving simulators that participants used to experience how distracted driving impacts operation of an automobile; a motorcycle simulator that demonstrated motorcycle safely; and a tractor trailer that enabled participants to go into the cab to see what a driver experiences while maneuvering the vehicle on the road.