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Sixth annual Heather L. Hurd 5K is Saturday at Harford Community College

Runners from last year's Heather L. Hurd 5K Run and Mile Fun Walk start over the course. This year's sixth annual run in memory of Ms. Hurd, who was killed by a distracted driver, is Saturday, Nov. 8, at Harford Community College.
Runners from last year's Heather L. Hurd 5K Run and Mile Fun Walk start over the course. This year's sixth annual run in memory of Ms. Hurd, who was killed by a distracted driver, is Saturday, Nov. 8, at Harford Community College. (Photo courtesy Lauren, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The sixth annual Heather L. Hurd 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk, raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, will take place Saturday, Nov. 8, at Harford Community College, starting at 9 a.m.

The race honors the memory of Heather L. Hurd, a history major at Harford Community College from 1999 to 2003, who was killed in a 2008 motor vehicle accident in Florida in which the other driver was texting.

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The walk/run was established by the Hurd Family and Harford Community College in 2009 to raise funds for the Harford Community College Remembrance Book Scholarship Fund and to raise awareness of traffic accidents, their consequences and what can be done to prevent them.

Over the past five years, $70,000 has been raised by the race for Remembrance Book Scholarships, and 240 scholarships have been presented to deserving HCC students, according to HCC.

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The goal this year is to raise $25,000 and to attract 600 runners and walkers. Last year, a record 550 participants raised $23,000 for book scholarships.

On-site race registration takes place in the Susquehanna Center auxiliary gymnasium from 8 to 8:45 a.m., with the race starting at 9 a.m. The race takes place on a USA Track and Field Certified Course.

Awards will be presented based on age groups and final times.

The registration fee is $30 on race day; $15 for those younger than 18 accompanied by a registered adult. Participants may pre-register at http://www.harford.edu/heather.

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Packet pickup for pre-registered participants will be available Friday, Nov. 7, at Harford Community College's Susquehanna Center auxiliary gymnasium from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For those unable to walk or run, but who would like to participate, donations may be made to sponsor a participant running or walking in the race, or an outright donation may be made by visiting http://www.harford.edu/heather.

"For the past five years we have raised awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through a race named in memory of Heather," said Russell Hurd, Heather's father. "Last year we had our highest participation ever – 550 runners and walkers – and we hope to increase those numbers this year. The race enables us to make people think twice about distracted driving and also provides deserving students with book scholarships at a place our Heather loved."

Tracy Hart of 970 WAMD and KHZTV Network will serve as master of ceremonies, and the radio station will broadcast live from the race.

The Oriole Bird, Poe from the Ravens, Chick-fil-A cow and Harford Community College's Screech will be on hand to greet participants.

Many activities will take place before and after the race. They include the Maryland State Police's seat belt convincer, which will demonstrate the impact of an automobile crash and the importance of wearing a seat belt, and DUI goggles that will simulate the impairment and danger caused by drunk driving.

Also on hand will be a texting-while-driving simulator that participants can use to experience how distracted driving impacts operation of an automobile. A tractor trailer will be on site so participants can see what a truck driver experiences while driving.

Harford Community College is at 401 Thomas Run Road in Bel Air. For more information, visit http://www.harford.edu/heather or call 443-412-2449.

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