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As director of the Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run/Walk for Leukemia, Green has been touch with runners and walkers near and far as race days — Aug. 2 and 3 — approaches.
But while the event, in its 22nd year, continues to have a more national and international flavor, the fact isn’t lost on the Benwood native that the race is a local one benefiting local people.
“It’s nice to have runners from all around the world,” he said, “but, ultimately, I want to treat them all the same.
“Whether you’re from Kenya and are one of the top runners in the world or you’re from down the street from where I live, I want to treat everyone the same.”
Registrations will be accepted through race day for events that begin on Friday night with the Green Mile Run/Walk at 7 p.m. Saturday features the Debbie’s Dash Kids’ race at 6 p.m., followed by the main event at 7.
“We’re pretty excited,” Green said about the events, sponsored by Kalkreuth. “We have a pretty fast field coming in, and some of the past winners are coming in.”
That list includes Mourad Mafout, the 2013 winner. Green is also excited about the arrival of Lawrence Kipkoech, an all-American runner from Campbell.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “I’ve been getting calls from all over the place.”
American Garrett Kenyon is another runner Green is eager to see run the downtown Wheeling course, along with female standout Esther Wanjiru.
“And you just never know who’ll come in at the last minute,” he said.
“The Race for a Reason” began to honor Green’s sister, Debbie, who lost her battle against leukemia at age 7 in 1972.
Debbie’s death provided the inspiration for the race, selected as the Road Runners Club of America 5K National Championship race three times.
“We started this race to help local kids with cancer,” Green stressed, noting two youths from Belmont County will be aided this year. “Having these people from throughout the world come here and having your sister’s name out there everywhere is amazing.
“When I started this, I never thought we’d have runners from Kenya or Ethiopia or Mexico. We’ve had women that went 1-2 in the Olympics.”
Green has also had a wide-range of local runners cross his finish line. Now, a second generation of runners are making the trek through the course, which is now in Wheeling after starting in Benwood.(08/02/2019) ⚡AMP
Proceeds of the event will benefit a local recipient who suffers from leukemia Pediatric Cancer. Start and finish lines located at Wheeling's Heritage Port. Course Records: Male - Maroud Marofit 13:46 (2013) Female - Susan Jerotich 15:39 (2014) Debbie's Story: Debbie Green was a 7 year old girl from Benwood, WV. She was like every other little girl... she loved...more...