Howard County runners looking to burn a few calories before Thanksgiving this year will have the option of running around Turf Valley's golf course as part of a 10K to benefit the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation, a local organization supporting cancer patients and their families.
The foundation is named after Ellicott City native Zach Lederer, who in 2012 inspired people around the world with a picture of him striking a triumphant muscle flex after waking up from surgery to remove a brain tumor. Lederer died at age 20 earlier this year.
The race, called the Turf Valley Trot, is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 23, and has options for people with varying levels of running ability. Serious runners can participate in the 10K, which requires a pace of at least 13 minutes per mile, while casual runners and families can join in for a "Family Fun Walk" around the Turf Valley grounds.
The race is being sponsored by Turf Valley Towne Square and Nightmare Graphics, a Columbia-based T-shirt and sign printing business.
Sam Andelman, founder of Nightmare Graphics, first met Lederer in 2012. He remembered the then-18-year-old as "mature" and "just a wonderful young man."
Andelman decided to partner with Lederer and the University of Maryland to pass out T-shirts with a graphic of Lederer's pose, which had come to be called "Zaching," to students at a university basketball game. When Lederer passed away two years later, Andelman decided to raise money to help Lederer's family establish the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation.
The 10K at Turf Valley will be the third major event to support Zaching Against Cancer this year, according to Andelman. In September, the organization held its inaugural 5K run as part of the Woodstock ROC festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds, and last week, there was a silent auction and gala fundraiser at the Legends Museum near Baltimore's Camden Yards.
The Turf Valley Trot will be followed by a post-race party in a heated tent, complete with a live band and food from Towne Square merchants. All participants will receive a T-shirt printed by Nightmare Graphics.
Race organizers are also encouraging participants to bring cans of food for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, which was the beneficiary of the charity run last year.